Hout Bay artist Leila Garde initially studied and worked in the fashion industry. After a long and rewarding design career, having worked with both local retailers and International Designers & Labels, she retired from the industry. Through her work, she has travelled the world extensively, and in turn has been exposed to a multitude of different cultures. Although Leila has always dabbled in “creative ventures”, it was only during the 2020 Covid 19 Lockdown, at 46 that she began to paint full time.
Having worked in “design & merchandising” on an international level, she has a keen eye, and an eclectic (some might say “Avant Garde” understanding and use of colour) mixing unusual hues and shades together, that work brilliantly in today’s modern interiors.
Thoughtful, her work carries aspects of abstract symbolism, and through composition, you can feel and see her considered meditation, an automatic method that brings visual order to her work, which is both spontaneous yet deliberate at the same time. By her signature use of extraordinary colour, there are subtle ambiguities to her work, a certain “yin & yang”, where sometimes even “polarities” co-exist in harmony.
As a versatile artist she has a wide range, continuously experimenting, trying new techniques and mediums, ever evolving and developing as an artist. As a result, she has no fixed boundaries. Her work is a confident pictorial vocabulary of bright, intense colour, yet she feels as comfortable and settled with a monochromatic palette.
With a “Buddhist-type” upbringing, she has philosophical leanings towards matters she feels strongly about, such as human rights, conservation and climate change, and having initially explored these avenues creatively, now prefers to draw inspiration from her travels and life, painting with a “lightness of heart”, authenticity and sense of humour.
She believes art should tell a happy story, or at the very least make you smile – particularly if hanging in your home, and on that, it certainly delivers.
The Stripe series:
Ice lollipop sticks were the initial inspiration for this series, drawing on home life in Cape Town, with its iconic beaches and Summer-Time living, but as the initial paintings evolved they came to mean so much more to her, starting to “breathe” of her time spent in Manhattan, NYC, with its crowded subways, trendy lightin