Multimedia artist Leor Grady conceptual works, interdisciplinary in nature, explore themes of home and identity politics. Through drawing, installation, and video art, he subversively reposition everyday objects, concepts and experiences to imbue them with poetic meaning. Recently Leor was honored as the first Israeli artist to have his work featured in the New York City gallery, Y Gallery. To honor his recent showing and growing creativity, AICF had the opportunity to learn more bout Leor’s needs as an artist and inspiration.
1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
I believe most artists create out of an urge to express. It probably starts at an early age and manifests itself in many ways before one make a conscious choice to make art their primary occupation. Friends, artists, writers, performers, activists, literature, poetry, politics, pop culture and social interactions are a never-ending source of inspiration. Language, history and the ability to create an experience, inspire me most.
2) What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
The creative journey I’m on has strong parallels to my personal development. My first attraction and interest in theater arts and stage design has evolved into sculptural and conceptual work. My work today has strong connection to the mundane and the poetics of the familiar, intimate and traditional. It has shown at various locations from my apartment in Jerusalem in 1995 to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in DC in 2009. These days my solo show Objects of Affection is on view at Y Gallery in the Lower East Side.
3) What do you need as an artist today?
Resources. A space to work in; funds to work with; a peer group, an audience to engage with; and some time to be able to just be in the world…Read, explore, rest and recharge.
4) What creative project are you working on now?
Site Specific installation in Las Vegas, and a solo show in Boston.
5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
Continue making art telling my history conceptually to a wide audience.
6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
Living in NYC creates distance. The distance is necessary for perspective; a perspective free of the familial and familiar. Coming from such a familial society with a loaded past and present as Israel, to such an individual centered culture as in NYC, allows for a great understanding and appreciation of my own history, culture and identity as an Israeli of Yemeni descent. This distance also brings a fair amount of longing with it. This discomfort and longing is the petri dish of my creative urge.
7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF available in the art world? The most authentic reflection of life in Israel is expressed through its creative expression. Supporting Israeli art and artists is both a privilege and and an act of kindness. It is a great privilege because it is a creative partnership between an artist and a supportive “viewer”. It is also an act of deep kindness because without this support most artists would not be able to benefit from a proper education and remain committed to their practice.