Family of Artisans: Art In Our Blood

Art In Our Blood

By Leslie Fiestan – Riyadh

Artist Leslie Fiestan

I was brought up in a family of artisans. For as long as I could remember, I’ve been sketching and painting to my heart’s content and I remember my mom pointing out that I was like her uncle who too was gifted.

My maternal grandmother was skilled and creative.  I used to watch her embroider, knit, crochet and sew clothes. She passed on these skills to my aunt and my mom, as well. I have tried my hands at all those skills and have at least completed a few simple projects. It’s really not as easy as it looks since it requires a lot of imagination, focus and patience, and patience is something I need to have more of.

In my family, three of us are quite good at drawing and each with a unique style and technique. I for example, I am more focused on photography although I could paint and sketch as well and I’m into realism.  My brother grew up an anime fan and naturally his artworks reflect more on the Japanese style of art.  My sister is the only one who ventured into sculpting, particularly in clay. Also, since she grew up loving the Lion King, her artworks focus more on animals and her original human characters have a more Disney vibe to them. Among us three, I’m the only one who still struggles a bit with a pen and brush, as well as with coloring. My siblings have mastered their tools of choice, be it digital or painting/drawing by hand. They are also very adept at drawing human anatomy.

From an early age, we all knew what our passion was, we always had our own pads, pens colored pencils, pastels, watercolors and doodles on our books and notebooks and folders to keep all our artwork. My brother always carried a sketchbook. Sometimes you can catch me swinging my fingers with a blank expression, that’s because I’m drawing on air which is something my mom does as well.

We see images in ordinary things and sometimes turn it into a game of “Do you see what I see?” It’s pretty much like finding shapes in clouds, only we see shapes in everyday items like spills, patterns and even how things are organized.  It’s true that our minds wander a lot, hence the silence and preference to spend alone time in our room.

It’s a constant flow of ideas. In my case, ideas flow while I’m working on a project. And so I get a bit irritated when I’m disrupted most especially when I’m in ‘the zone.’  I will only pause when I want or need to. You could say that I’m in a trance, a deep one. Unwanted interruptions cause that idea to fade. Unfortunately, that’s something people seldom understand.

The ideas phase can be hard when I can’t think of anything. Thus I need to find an inspiration. After doing a rough sketch, that’s when I start to draw and paint my subject and during the process the original idea could change depending on what looks better and what doesn’t, what fits and what works.

My process of work can be different from other artists, but we all do share the same behavioral patterns and it’s true that we can grow attached to our masterpieces. They are after all, our creation.

Follow Les – Leslie Fiestan, Graphic Designer based in Riyadh, KSA