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Inside the Art Studio of Simone Leigh

A photo of artist Simone Leigh in a sculpture studio


Our Studio Sunday feature this week is Simone Leigh. Leigh is a multimedia artist and sculptor originally from Chicago who now lives and works primarily in New York. The artist’s practice deals with themes of ethnic and personal identity, combining elements of feminism with a focus on African art and performance.


The artist is pictured here at Stratton Sculpture Studios, a Philadelphia foundry where she was producing works in early 2019. The notion of utilizing specific, locational spaces to create sculptures is interesting, and one that isn’t always discussed in the context of artist studios. Especially for an artist like Leigh, who produces such large, monolithic structures, working out of a studio close to where an exhibition of new work is happening could be very beneficial. 


The studio space as pictured here looks very clean, and almost posed that way -- I wonder if more work-in-progress or production supplies are just out of frame. Overall, this studio’s airy atmosphere and composed figures reminds me of the workspace of Bharti Kher. I see numerous buckets of clay or other sculptural material stacked against the far left corner of the room, just behind a tall sculpture of a female figure. It’s daunting to think of how much clay must go into a sculpture of that size. 


Leigh studied at Earlham College in Indiana before moving to New York. The artist has since been exhibited internationally, as well as teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. The artist has been the recipient of a number of awards including The Guggenheim Fellowship.

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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