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A Salty Soul Highlight - Leigh McCarthy

Erin Wilson

  All images courtesy of Leigh McCarthy. 

All images courtesy of Leigh McCarthy. 

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Happy Monday!  Ready for some more inspiration and to learn about another awesome Salty Soul?  This girl is our dear friend and often partner in crime on Nantucket!  The photo on the right is me & Leigh on the beach, where we both love to be. She has energy like no other, is always up for an adventure and she is an incredibly talented artist.  We are SO excited to introduce you to Leigh McCarthy! 

 

 One of our favorites from Leigh's Nantucket work. 

One of our favorites from Leigh's Nantucket work. 

 

Q: You spend your summers on Nantucket and grew up near the ocean, how does this affect you as an artist and how you incorporate the ocean into your work? 

A: The sea incorporates itself into my work rather than the other way around. I grew up in LA and always visited my family on the East coast during the summer. When I discovered Nantucket, I just knew I found my happy place. It has such a fascinating past that I keep learning more and more about. The maritime history of Nantucket has inspired a lot of different work but it's not an intellectual thing, it just seeps into my pores. There is nothing I like more than walking over a sand dune and dropping into the most pristine beach you have ever seen. I hope it stays like this as long as possible, so I donate a portion of the proceeds of my work to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation to preserve it.  

Q: We hear you went to the same school as Damien Hirst. True story? 

A: Ha! That's true. I got my graduate degree at Goldsmiths College in London where Hirst studied art as an undergrad. Speaking of salty, Hirst became well known after suspending a 14-foot tiger shark in formaldehyde. I never thought I would be represented by the same gallery, but now we are both at the Samuel Owen Gallery! 

Q: Is it also true that your first exhibition was sponsered by David Bowie? 

A: Absolutely true! When I was in graduate school he hosted a show called Assembly for students in grad school studying fine art in London in a derelict school building in Stepney City. Students from a bunch of different schools joined forces from all over including Goldsmiths, Royal College, and Central Saint Martins. It was great.  

Q: You live this amazing life between Brooklyn and summers on Nantucket...how do you make this happen? It's a dream come true!

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A: A few years ago, I was gearing up to go to the Arctic (you can find some of my pics are here) and thought being on Nantucket would be an ideal spot to test my new equipment in the elements. By the end of that summer, I had created a whole new body of work, got picked up by a local gallery, and had a show! I didn't expect so many good things to result, but it all seemed to fall into place after making the decision to be where I feel most inspired. 

Q: Last year you took an amazing trip to the Arctic? Tell us about the group you went out with and what your favorite part of the journey was!

A: The trip was part of a unique residency program called, the arctic circle Autumn Art & Science Expedition. I traveled for two weeks aboard a Norwegian Tall Ship with thirty other artists. It was pretty amazing to be on one of the only ships sailing in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. We could basically ask to do whatever we'd like in the name of art which was really freeing. 

A writer on the trip spent the night in a trapper's hut accompanied by two guides and a husky. After a brief transmission via walkie talkie, they walked to the top of a hill to wave goodnight. Their headlamps waved back and forth as they hiked in the fog, it looked just like a lighthouse. There was no way to capture it because it was so dark, but it's something I'll never forget. 

A: We love your work, how does one purchase? 

You can contact my studio directly to buy work at leighmccarthy.com. Or, if you are in Nantucket or Greenwich, CT you can stop by Samuel Owen Gallery to purchase my work. 

Q: Biggest piece of advice to others to pursue their dreams?

A: Quiet the inner critique, gather your courage, and make as many mistakes as possible. 

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