My principal medium is the artists book, from which I also produce limited edition prints. Architecture and the street life of a city fascinate me. I choose an unfamiliar place, spend 2-3 weeks of discovery, walking around, taking reference photos and sketching. That first exposure is so intense; with fresh eyes and heightened senses, you see things locals are often unaware of, which fade on subsequent visits.
Once back in my studio, a year of painting begins. With a stylus and Wacom tablet, I paint on the computer in Illustrator. Working only with flat areas of colour (CMYK) and no tone, I “cut out” colour shapes with the stylus, arranging them on different layers, creating a collage. In fact, I first began working this way years ago (before developing my computer skills) by cutting out sheets of coloured paper with scissors, similar to the way Matisse created his paper cut-outs. Matisse described it as “drawing with colour”. The paintings end up as digital files; vector images which can be reduced or enlarged to any size. Therefore there is no scanning, the files can be printed directly from the computer onto a mould-made paper, using a flat-bed UV inkjet printer. The images give a narrative to the book. My books are enormous (page size 38cm x 56cm) and are works of art in their own right. Each painting is then offered as a limited edition Giclée print on mould-made paper.
My work can be found in many of the private and institutional collections including the Library of Congress, British Library and the Boston Athenaeum.
Born in the UK, I trained at Portsmouth Art College and Sydney College of Art, Australia. In the 1970s and 80s I ran a successful design studio in London with my wife working on corporate design, publishing, brochures and museum graphics. A transformative move to the countryside in the Cotswolds allowed me the freedom, time and space to return to my first love, painting, drawing on my extensive experience in graphics and publishing.
Awards include Best Book of the Show at the Oxford Book Fair for Portmeirion: 'Book of the Year' and 'Best Art Book' for Havana and 'Best Digital Book' for Venice Reflections from the British Book Design and Production Awards.
View a ‘Virtual Event’ at the Boston Athenaeum by John Buchtel, Curator of Rare Books and Head of Special Collections, featuring my book Venice Reflections
Leslie Gerry Editions
The Eight Gabled House, Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire, GL54 4LX, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1242 820653