After a week of pelting rain, the clouds parted for artist Leo Greenfield and me to meet under the graceful Port Jackson trees at Bodhi vegan restaurant. Sunshine sparkled through the branches, casting a pretty dappled light over the outdoor setting.
Leo Greenfield is softly spoken, curious and contemplative. He cast aside post graduate training and a curating job for his first love of documenting every day lives. Going back to train further, this time at the Victorian College of the Arts, he honed his artistic skills, and these days, his signature style of figures captured with quick strokes and pale washes are seen on gallery walls, as illustrations for magazines, newspapers, books and blogs.
Leo's years spent in Europe, following the fashion seasons and illustrating what he was attending at the collections both on the catwalk and of those who attended them, caught the attention of top fashion houses and fashion magazines who engaged his services for campaigns and various projects. Leo counts amongst his clients Chanel, The Daily Telegraph UK, The Weekend Australian Magazine, Wish Magazine, Viva (NZ), Architectural Digest, L'Officiel, Vogue and Harper’s BAZAAR.
I wanted to know about Leo's food loves and habits, so we got talking as the baskets of dumplings arrived in quick succession.
Tina: Growing up on a farm in country South Australia, were you a meat and three veg family?
Leo: Actually no. I think Everyone tried harder to be engaged with the world since we were quite isolated. My parents were well travelled and always cooked a variety of food.
Tina: What are your daily food habits?
Leo: Being from the farm, sitting in cafes is still a little exotic for me. I love going out, eating out, being in crowds...... also when you work is solitary, there is a need to get out and about.
Breakfast is really important to me: I get up and organize that for my partner Myke and me. I love porridges. Myke is from Brazil, and of African heritage, so lots of rice and beans......
Tina: Visually, what's an experience which sticks with you?
Leo: At uni, I had a job at a fruit and veg stall at the Adelaide Central Markets. one of my best food and art experiences- so many types of people passing through, beautiful, lively people. That market is just so beautiful......
Tina: How has Covid affected you Leo?
Leo: Well personally, not much actually. My work is solitary, so I guess I understand the feeling when friends want to talk about isolation that they are unused to. I give them the space to share their feelings.
It is also for me about savouring the small things. I always light some candles for dinner at home with my partner. I love the light it creates, a special glow for a special time of coming together to eat.
Having a studio at home means being acutely aware of domestic spaces and how my work spills into it. So I am hyper aware of anyone owning my work in their homes; it has to harmonize, and feel comfortable in amongst their own lives and what they have around them.
Tina: what's a naughty food secret?
Leo: Oh............ Myke and I bought brioche buns and made egg and bacon rolls for breakfast recently. So bad and so good!
Tina: Can you give us some tips of where to eat in Adelaide?
Tina: And what about eating in Sydney- some favourite spots?
Leo: The Taste of Northern China on Bronte Road has great hand made noodles and dumplings.
And for sweets, Madame and Yves on Clovelly Road is so good.
-All artwork copyright of the artist Leo Greenfield.
-Leo Greenfield's solo exhibition on at Art Images Gllery: 32 The Parade, Norwood, Adelaide until April 11, 2021.
-Follow the artist on @leo.greenfield, website is: www.leogreenfield.com