As one of the artists taking part in our ‘Alchemical’ exhibition, we invited Léa Layeux, known as Oxalea, to share her processes and inspiration…
I mainly work with plants that I pick responsibly in the Alps. I then press these so that the plants retain their colours; occasionally I work with already dried plants. For instance, the work I had included in ArtCan’s recent exhibition was a preserved coltsfoot leaf which I hand gilded.
I love being in the mountains, it’s my natural environment. Through my work with plants I transmit luminous messages, full of hope, so that we humans can find ourselves in nature and work to protect it.
I am deeply convinced that it is urgent to transform the fear of the unknown by a better knowledge of nature, in order to preserve it. I want to raise awareness and educate through discovery; it is time to observe what is at our feet before we look up to the sky…
I would love to dedicate myself solely to my art, and I am convinced I will soon be able to, but for the moment I am still working as a freelance graphic designer and webmaster. I also have training in technical laboratory sciences, which kickstarted my fascination with plant biology.
I have been particularly influenced by the romanticism of the 18th century – artists like Caspar David Friedrich, sometimes called one of ‘the most important German artists of his generation’.
The advice I would give to artists who are just starting out is to believe in yourselves – everything is possible, and if our little inner voice tells us to go for it, there should be no hesitation! We only have one life!
Find more about Lea and her work at www.oxalea.com