The first of a 4-part series featuring some of our favorite Aussie babes…
This post comes to us from Natalie Shukur, and is the first of a 4-part series featuring some of our amazing new friends in Australia!
Artist Leah Fraser creates otherworldly realms in her paintings and ceramics, exploring folklore, ceremony and indigenous culture. Her subjects are often decorated in ritualistic clothing and jewelry, adorned with flowers and plants and surrounded by nature. Fraser depicts shaman-like characters traveling through mystical lands in search of spiritual metamorphosis, where they encounter mammals, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna. Gods, goddesses, demons, gurus, deities and ingénues are resplendent in richly colored scenes that encourage the viewer to contemplate their own relationship with nature and the universe. We visited Fraser in her garden studio near Sydney’s Bronte beach, to get a peek at her process and some works in progress.
Name: Leah Fraser
Location: Bronte, Sydney, Australia
Vocation: Visual Artist
Describe your morning routine…
I wake up early and feed my dog, Nelly, and take her for a bit of a stroll. Then I will maybe have a swim or go to yoga, grab a coffee, and I’m into my little studio by 8:30 or 9am.
What gets your juices flowing?
Music, books, friends, wine, dancing, being alone, writing, coffee, yoga, movies, history, swimming, travel…
When do you feel most inspired?
There’s no one thing that triggers inspiration for me. It can come up from anything really… it’s just the right combination of mood, light, sound and feeling, I suppose. I could be walking up the road eating a peach and feel a wave of something filling me up.
Do you cook or follow a food philosophy, and what are your favorite things to eat?
I love to cook and eat! We do a lot of Mexican at home, and I love making soups in winter. But I also love eating out (my current favorite is this amazing Vietnamese pho around the corner from us). Roasts every Sunday are a family tradition of my boyfriend’s, which we joyfully keep. I am a massive chocolate fiend — I can’t live without it. I think the general philosophy is everything in moderation.
How do you like to incorporate movement into your life?
I walk a lot and swim at the beach almost every day in summer. Yoga has been a part of my life for over ten years now — I love the connection of movement to breath. There’s also a lot of solo dancing that goes on in my studio.
What do you feel most gratitude for?
I have to remind myself all the time to be grateful for the life I have. There are so many bad things going on in this world and we are so lucky to be living in a semi-peaceful country (though we have our problems here, too). And in all this natural beauty [in Australia], we need to hold onto that for dear life.
When the going gets tough, what do you turn to?
Some kinds of tough call for meditating in wild, lonely places and swims in the ocean; and sometimes tough times need wine and sad music.
How do you like to let your hair down?
Hanging out with my friends.
What couldn’t you live without?
Oh my God, there are so many things I can’t live without. I’m so needy! Sleep. My boyfriend. Food. My girlfriends. Exercise, coffee, warmth, podcasts, lists, flowers, a toothbrush…
If you could learn a new skill or foster a new talent, what would it be?
The piano. French? I have fantasies about being a dancer but I think it’s a bit late for me, unfortunately.
Where have you traveled to recently?
Last year I went to New Zealand, Italy, Spain and America. This summer I have been up in Byron Bay, Valla Beach and Bellingen [in Australia]. I’m going to London next week. I really love traveling and seeing new places. Environment is very important to me for fostering creative expression; places have a way of penetrating the psyche.
And where would you like to travel to next?
Hawaii. I have a vision of jungles and turtles and fresh fruit and flowers.
What music do you have on rotation currently?
Just flicking back [through my playlist], it’s pretty varied. Shining Bird, Wings, King Tubby, Australian Crawl, Nick Cave, the Only Lovers Left Alive soundtrack, Fleet Foxes, Esther Phillips, Otis Reading…of course, David Bowie.
Is fashion important to you? How do you like to dress?
I love clothes. I think that self-decoration is one of the oldest and most basic forms of self expression available to us as humans. I love vintage, but I also love the high-end stuff — it’s an art form of its own at that point. I think my own sense of style wavers depending on my mood. It’s sort of romantic/hippy/70s/sleepwear-inspired? Sometimes I wander into dress-up territory, and there is always a lot of black silk and white lace.
What’s your personal mantra or life philosophy?
I’m going to quote a wiser woman than myself, Patti Smith: “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.”
What cause in the world do you feel most passionate about?
The environment. We need to preserve what we’ve got and try to foster a global movement of ecological consciousness for the benefit of future generations.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on [paintings of] a young man holding a jaguar, a turbaned shaman, a large sort of epic of the beginning of the universe, plus pieces for some upcoming group shows and the Melbourne art fair this year.
Photography by Emica Penklis
+Stay tuned for more AUS-ome babes!