An ongoing series of Q&As with L.A.’s most fascinating contemporary artists, introduced in their own words. This week it’s Stephen Leap, a visual designer and lifestyle artist who engages with his personal narrative and the spirit of his hometown community with a poetic global vision and soulfully celestial aspirations.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first knew you were an artist?
STEPHEN LEAP: When I tapped into my subconscious, conscious and divinity, all at the same time. As a child in third grade being and feeling the embrace of becoming awakened.
What is your short answer to who ask what your work is about?
Literally God’s Kingdom; it's laws of the universal enlightenment conveyed through “Hi-Fashion.”
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Literally be dead, while living robotically alive. We’re humans. Human beings are artists. The whole entire world and the economy was constructed by a vision, which is an artist: illustrates vision into life.
Why do you live and work in L.A.?
Already honored that it is for me to say that I was born in Long Beach, pretty much all over L.A., and this pushes me even harder. I’ve been exposed. Brought up in a certain lifestyle people make movies about. People across the globe move to a city like this to chase an opportunity, a huge opportunity at that. Why? Los Angeles is tapped in worldwide. One of the most prominent cities in the entire world that actually creates and generates the “new trends.” All these new trends were just generated by individuals who were just brought up challenged, in Section 8 government-owned poverties who couldn’t just ask for a shirt or sweater. ... We just have to imagine it. Which is why, now, it all explains why I design.
Do you listen to music while you work? Who?
I listen to artists who were/are in the same bubble of breaking out the mud. I listen to examples like Roddy Ricch, MBNels, Rexx Life Raj, Lil Mosey who embraces the pain in coming up. Being broke and working into their achievements to “make it out the mud.” It’s literally mud over here. Circumstances get thick, a lot of weight on our shoulders from low-income challenges and the society itself that tries to break you down. So when I hear them, I hear success in achievements.
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