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Minna Leunig has always drawn, ever since she was a kid, but over the years her relationship with drawing has changed. For Minna, she found it started playing a bigger part in her life as a way of managing stress. We visited Minna in her home and asked about how she crafts her characters and developed her style.
Tell us a little bit more about how drawing has become such a big part of your life.
I’ve been drawing ever since I was young, so it’s not something I can remember starting. I do remember stopping for a while though, around my mid-teens – I think I just lost interest. It was only when I got to uni that I started again. I was dealing with some pretty bad anxiety at the time and drawing became more of an escape than anything, a way to get out of my head. It just continued on from there.
We’re all sitting in your bedroom – how do you find working from such a personal space.
I’ve always worked from my room, I guess mostly due to necessity as I can’t really justify paying for a studio space at this point, but I also like being in my room – it’s a pretty comfortable space to be in.
You’ve mentioned some of your favourite works are unplanned – how does this tie in with the way you work?
Some of what I draw is planned, some isn’t. It’s hard to know which drawings I will end up liking most – I could spend some time carefully considering how to make an image and then be totally unhappy with the final thing.
Other times a bit of planning is good. Often I like the images that arise from a more playful hand though. I guess the specific way I go about making a drawing really just depends on my mood that day.
We’re also interested in your relationship to the gallery space as you’ve previously said you don’t want to restrict the way your work is exhibited.
I’m taking some time off exhibitions and gallery spaces at the moment – I find some gallery environments can be a bit sterile, and at this stage I’m liking things to stay as earthy as possible. It’s good to be able to sell from Junior Space without having to exhibit – it’s a great place for emerging artists to get work out there. For the most part, right now I’m just enjoying drawing for myself, with no particular project in mind. I’ve also been getting more into paste ups. I like the way I work when I’m doing something as a paste up – it often frees me up and I get more gestural – it’s not something that’s going to last anyway so there’s a sense of it all not mattering that much.
How does Melbourne support your practice?
Melbourne is a good city to live in as a creative person, there’s a lot happening at a grass roots level which is what makes it unique I think. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt fully a part of the Melbourne art scene – partly because I’ve never really felt like a Melbournian (I grew up in rural Victoria and have never really adjusted to city life), and partly because I’ve always tended to work in solitude – but I do really enjoy seeing what other people are doing and how they do things. I often feel more at home going to see music over art shows, and find there’s quite a bit of cross pollination that can happen between the two scenes – one inspires the other.
A selection of Minna’s prints are available from Junior Space and retail from $24.00. SHOP MINNA LEUNIG.