Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Lesleigh went to the University of Pennsylvania where she took a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts, studying and focusing on sculpture.
“I have been interested in art all my life, starting with drawing on walls and sidewalks, which wasn’t popular with my parents,” she remembers with a smile.
From an early age, Lesleigh knew she wasn’t happy living in Colorado, where the only thing she appreciated was the Rocky Mountains. At seven she told all her childhood friends she had to get out of Colorado.
Little did she know that this desire for change would take her from New York, where she lived after her university graduation, and then to Paris, New Delhi and finally to Southeast Asia.
“I always felt attracted to Asia and wanted to live here,” she says.
After seven years in India, Lesleigh now lives in downtown Bangkok. “Life in New Delhi was intense 24/7. It was everything from the awesome to the horrific and everything in between. Finally it was time to move to a gentler place. I wanted to find out more about the other Asian countries.
“I travelled around a lot, visiting most countries and decided on Thailand. Life in Thailand is easy compared to life in New Delhi. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to learn Thai and I’m frustrated at not being able to communicate better with Thai people.
“My biggest shock in living in Bangkok is that there is no ‘book culture’. India has many great authors and books are sold everywhere. I miss that as well as the very rich historical culture that is seen there in abundance.
“This coming April I will have lived in Bangkok for seven years and feel it’s time to move on. The sea is calling, so I’m moving to Hua Hin. I’m excited at the prospect of a new adventure, and discovering a new place. I am also terrified since I have always lived in big cities. Onward I go….”
esleigh has a small studio in her apartment on Sathorn, where she is working on an ongoing sculpture project she calls ‘Female Crucifix’ made in porcelain. “I am always a sculptor, though at the moment I’m trying to make photographs three- dimensional by layering/collaging canvas images.”
When not working Lesleigh spends her time practicing yoga, Pilates and fast walking. She loves Nature and being outside. She enjoys reading and traveling, which for the past year has been impossible.
Luckily she has a huge terrace where she can enjoy a good book while listening to the birds and watching the butterflies. “My terrace is like a green outdoor living room,” she says.
She thinks it’s sad that so little of genuine old Thai architecture and houses have had to make space for ultra-modern high rise buildings.
Asked what she dislikes the most about Bangkok, she replies, as do most people who live here: “The bad traffic and pollution, but despite that, I like the ease of life here.”
Has any artist made a special impact on her? “Yes, right now Paula Rego and Pat Andrea are coming to mind, but of course there are many more.”
Paula Rego is a Portuguese painter and graphic artist known for her surrealistic and expressionistic paintings who lives in England. Pat Andrea is a Dutch contemporary painter and sculptor who is seen as a representatives of the New Subjectivity.
What’s her ideal place for an exhibition? “New York City,” says Lesleigh in an instant. “But when this Corona torment is over, I would like to make another exhibition in Bangkok.
This is a woman with boundless energy and a constant flow of ideas. For sure, we will hear a lot more about her in the future. – Agneta de Bekassy