Leslie Ann O’Dell is a self-taught artist based in Colorado. Using photography and digital manipulation, she plays on themes of light and dark, nature, psyche, and self to create richly enigmatic and haunting portraits. Find her work at leslieannodell.com.
Why do you create? And why create this sort of work?
My own therapy I would say.
What is your artistic background?
I’m self-taught, but at one point I did I try art school. Only lasted a year, just wasn’t for me. I could never really follow rules or deadlines . . . I felt it fucked with my intuition too much.
Can you name some of your influences?
Subconscious, empathy for the wrong . . . people who dream.
Do you draw ideas from fiction?
Most ideas come from my imagination. I definitely feel influenced or pushed to create after some authors. Anne Rice when I was younger . . . . Not the characters she created, but the atmosphere.
Is your photography strictly digital?
Photography, digital, and some pieces I will add traditional elements.
Do you have an opinion on the democratization of creative tools? Between affordable digital cameras and image manipulation software which any person could train himself in, free promotional hubs such as deviantArt, and a global economy that can source art from anywhere, for any purpose—what does this bode for the future of art? Is it a good thing?
I don’t know about it being a good or bad thing. Maybe it will be harder to wade through and find meaningful work. Or maybe it will just set the bar higher.
You’ve said that you will always create, that the possibility to stop does not exist. If photography were no longer an option for you, is there another discipline you would move to?
I’ve always fantasized about being involved in the criminal world. Maybe an FBI profiler or a defense attorney.
There’s a significant crossover between photography and fashion and, increasingly, bizarre photo-illustration and fashion. Being that you represent beautiful young female figures so often in your work, do you aspire to or would you consider working with a fashion designer?
You know, I’ve never really thought about that when it comes to fashion. It does sound intriguing and I would be open to it.
Do you have a day job or has this become your primary occupation?
My work is definitely my primary occupation and focus.
What are you working on right now?
I’m collecting very small frames to put images in. Eventually I’ll put them together to make a large piece. Rare for me, I’m finally starting to plan more.
Do you have a life philosophy?
Live and let live.
What keeps you awake at night?
. . . what doesn’t?
Spread the word!