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Artists CV    artwork
Leanne Burford

Bibliography and Influences

I come from a family of artists and designers, so I started painting in my early teens. I studied textile design, and ended up in advertising. After 7 years plus of working as a graphic designer and painting in my spare time, I exhibited at a charity auction at TBWA Hunt Lascaris, and did very well. I enjoyed the whole process so much that it made me realize that I would like to paint full time. So I set about learning and focusing myself, in order to improve and develop. In 2000 I left South Africa for England and have been working as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and fine artist.

In the late 90's I became very interested in psychology and religion. I am particularly interested in identity, what motivates behavior (and the brains involvement in this) as well as what our purpose is as human beings. I studied a year of Psychology to explore this. I find that my art is influenced by related issues. For example the painting "Alone" is inspired by a dream I had and the isolation felt by those with mental illness. I find Raw art (Art Brut) interesting as it is a refreshingly direct and emerges spontaneously from the unconscious mind of psychotics, and children. I have used a form of automatism in the past to see what develops, e.g.: "Attitude". I suppressed my conscious control while drawing, allowing my subconscious to take over. This form of work is influenced by raw art as well as the surrealist manifesto of Andre Breton "of pure psychic automatism, of art being produced in a state of a dream".

I enjoy experimenting and so my work tends to be expressed in quite different styles. I find that my more recently my work is developing into 2 different styles (or a combination of these 2 styles), one style with more of a design influence and one with a more abstract expressionist style. My work could be described as a form of abstract expressionism as it is both concerned with various forms of abstraction (decoration) and with psychic self expression. This form is more an attitude than style.

From my design background comes an appreciation of the decorative arts of the art nouveau movement, at times I use similar decoration purely for appreciation of their form and at other times decoration is used symbolically e.g.: "Overwhelmed". In my Collages "Overwhelmed", Is it Love and "Mother Nature" I use images derived from popular culture, this is both for convenience and to make a statement about the culture we live in today. These ideas are influences by the Pop art movement.

Another major influence in my work is nature, particularly the atmosphere evoked by the Africa landscape. I enjoy painting trees, to me they are both symbolic and reminiscent of Africa. They mentally represent growth, nurturing and bearing fruit (Religious connotation). In "Forever Searching" the branches seem to be moving or searching for the sun which
symbolizes brightness, light and life for a dead or dying tree. Roots and growth are influenced or formed by nature's elements. How much water and sun they get for e.g.: will influence their size and shape. So in a way it is a metaphor for our journey through life. These ideas are influenced by a statement by Kandinsky "None of us seeks to reproduce nature directly... We are seeking to give artistic form to inner nature i.e. spiritual experience".

I find that my own psychological and spiritual struggles come out in my work, often unconsciously, so my work can take on an intentional meaning but also on closer inspection an unconscious expression of myself. Like Surrealism I access the subconscious and translate this flow of thought into terms of art, though not consciously.

I find the work of the 20th century artists most inspiring particularly Salvador Dali, Wassily Kandinski, Marc Rothko, Gustav Klimt, Beardsley, Tanguy, Edvard Munch, Man Ray, Paul Klee, Richard Hamilton, Paul Delvaux, Rene Magritte. In addition I also have an appreciation for more modern artists especially e.g.: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Alexis Preller, and Lucien Freud.

Curriculum Vitae

Personal details:

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1972.


Matric (Baccalaureate) - 1985 – 1989
National Diploma in Textile Design - 1991 - 1993
Mapping Psychology course - 2003 - 2004

Career History:

Prime Media Lifestyle - Senior Graphic Designer - Current
Blue Hue Design - Jan 2008 - July 2008
Fine artist - 1997 to present
Tequila Design (Advertising) - Graphic Designer - Dec 99 to Dec 00
TBWA Hunt Lascaris (Advertising) - Graphic Designer - June 97 to Dec 99
D&M Textile Design (London) - Freelance Textile Designer - Sept 96 to Dec 96
Express Photo Graphics - Graphic Designer - Mar 94 to July 96

Exhibitions & publications:

Solo Exhibitions:
2007 The Flitch gallery - "Looking back at the present" Solo Exhibition
2003 The Public Library - Bishops Stortford, UK, 19/7/02 - 16/08/02

Group Exhibitions:
2007 Eye Candy - Optrixart Group Exhibition
2007 The Flitch Gallery - Essex & Hertfordshire local artists exhibition
2006 The Flitch Gallery - Essex & Hertfordshire local artists exhibition
2006 Mike Rothensteins Studio Barn - Stisted Annual Art Exhibition
2006 The Rhodes Art Complex - Hertfordshires Annual Open Exhibition
2006 Memorial Hall, Sawbridgeworth - Open Charity Exhibition
2005 The Bargehouse - London arts "Art of Love" exhibition, Londons South Bank, UK
2000 TBWA Hunt Lascaris - Art for arts sake charity art auction, Durban, SA
1999 TBWA Hunt Lascaris - Art for arts sake charity art auction, Durban, SA

1993 The CSIR’s exhibition space - Johnsons tile competition, Pretoria, SA
1993 The CSIR’s exhibition space - Annual student exhibition, Pretoria, SA
1993 “Dresscode" - Annual student fashion show, Pretoria, SA
1992 The Pretoria Zoo - “The endangered wildlife trust student exhibiton” SA
1992 The CSIR’s exhibition space - Johnsons tile competition finalist, Pretoria, SA
1991 1992, 1993 The Ivan Solomon Gallery - Annual Student Exhibition, Pretoria, SA
1989 The Little Gallery - Student Works Exhibition

1993 Textile designs published in “Lantern” magazine, Pretoria, South Africa

My work is represented in numerous private collections throughout South Africa, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.