There are people that you come across that are always full of positive energy, but at the same time have a calming effect on the people around them. Those would be the first words I’d use to describe Miss Leah Chyma of Leah Chyma All Over. Not to mention creative, fun, and inspiring.
I met Leah last summer and have been lucky enough to have shared a number of experiences with her – everything from her Camp Gladiator bootcamps, to co-working, snuggle puddles, concerts, lady chats… and of course brunch. I first learned about Leah’s passion for art last fall. Since then I’ve been inspired by her determination to shake away from the comfort of a steady paycheck in order to pursue her true love – Leah Chyma All Over. I had heard our mutual friends bragging about their LCAO piece; once I saw her work with my own eyes though I was immediately drawn in. The first painting of Leah’s that I laid eyes on was Sunbeam Prison – the layering of the paint on the canvas paired with masking tape and acrylic make the image pop in a 3D affect that made my eyes completely curious about every layer. That canvas had it goin on. Of course when I learned what this piece represented – “The overcoming of something awful… you can overcome a dark past and start a new positive path” – I was immediately hooked.
I wanted to hear more about where it all started. Leah and I decided on Blue Dahlia Bistro for a lady date so that I could pick her brain. (Enter delish wine.) I listened as she described her first pieces of “artwork” – the everyday doodles of a young student distracted in class. While Leah was simply trying to make the minutes pass faster like any normal kid, she was innocently creating her first pieces of artwork – pieces that would catch the eye of a teacher that saw her scribbles as much more than that. Leah’s teacher recognized her potential and encouraged her to explore her imagination on paper even more. That inspiration, along with years in other creative spaces – ceramics, the art of learning how to read music, and especially the inheritance of her parents’ vinyl collection – is what lead Leah’s path to the University of Iowa and later, a degree in Art and Creative Writing. And eventually, lucky for us, to Austin, Texas.
With Leah’s focus centered on her artwork more than ever this past year she’s really made strides in Austin’s art community. She’s featured in coffee shops and waiting rooms in and around the city and has had her art shown in some pretty fabulous happenings around town recently including Art Show at the Speed Shop, which took place last month at Pure Austin Fitness, and also in the well-known East Austin Studio Tour (aka EAST), where Leah’s art was hung alongside fellow artist Katy Hirschfeld of Collage Garage. Not only that. Leah is part of an awesome-ness initiative here in Austin – #besomebody. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen them around yet, #besomebody – The World’s Platform for Passion – helps people turn what they love to do into what they’re paid to do. They live off of the belief that your personal passion is by far your most valuable asset. How does it work? Well you download the iPhone app obviously (if you haven’t already done this you’re late to the party), select what you’re passionate about (for me – running, writing, fashion, entrepreneurship, dogs… I could have probably kept going…), and you’re off! The app automatically connects you to remarkable people in your area for one-on-one experiences with them, the experts. I especially like that I can learn how to create my own acrylic layered canvas and I don’t have to bring anything but myself for a super affordable price, all while supporting Leah, who’s just doing what she loves. Pretty cool, right? I think so.
Leah’s art will be shown TONIGHT at the December ArTXplosion by Mindzai Creative ATX. From what I hear they’ll have complimentary drinks and screen printing, and of course local artists – my favorite combination. If you can’t make it tonight be sure to “Like” LCAO’s Facebook page in order to stay in-the-know of her upcoming shows. Leah’s available for commissions as well – if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for on her site fill out her Q&A form and she’ll make amazingness happen. Trust me… I’ve seen it.