Local Artist Leslie Pearson Debuts New Exhibit
Up & Coming Weekly Magazine, Fayetteville, NC
July 13-19, 2005
By James Johnson
At 29, Missouri native Leslie Pearson has accomplished a lot in a career widely thought to be a “dead end.” This is due in large part, Pearson believes, to the support given to her by her family.
“I’ve always been into art,” said Pearson. “Ever since I was little. I feel like it’s something I was kind of born to do. Everyone has their thing, and that’s always been it for me. My parents have always been very supportive. They never looked down on my desire to be an artist. They never laughed at me, they always took it very seriously. So it became my elective in junior high and it continued on into college.”
After having earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Art from Southeast Missouri State University (1998), Pearson moved to England where she earned her Masters of Museum Studies at the University of Newcastle. After returning to the States, Pearson hoped to use the education she’d gained to pursue a professional career in art.
Then seemingly out of nowhere, America was attacked on 9/11, resulting in the loss of over 3,000 lives. As America turned its attention toward seeking out its attackers, the arts community suffered(much of the funds being cut), meaning less jobs for those in the art community. The loss was especially difficult for Pearson. “I’d always been able to make money at it,” she said. “I used to be a sign painter, so I was able to work toward paying tuition and stuff like that, and I got paid internships, and got a paid position working at the Arts Council. And I also sold my work all along the way.”
Pearson, who herself had married a military man, was out of work. As is in Pearson’s nature, she adapted to the changing times by joining the Army as a photojournalist for a military intelligence unit and freelanced as an arts and entertainment journalist for the Augusta Chronicle, a newspaper based in Georgia.
“It seemed totally crazy at the time, but I happened to be working all these odd jobs, and I met someone who was going to become a teacher, and she’d joined the army to have her tuition paid, so she said, ‘Go pay your student loans off,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, I have a lot of student loans,’” Pearson said.
“I’m glad I joined the Army in the long run.”
Years after the 9/11 attacks, Pearson has returned her focus to her art, working full-time from her art studio, and operating the Pearson Gallery, which can be found at 424 Dunmore Road in Fayetteville. Pearson’s art demonstrates a variety of different styles, form the more traditional landscapes (realism), texture, words and non-objective imagery, to the abstract. “I try to have a diverse style,” Pearson explained. “I do realistic large scale landscapes, and then on the other hand, I love working with shapes like the square. I love texture, and I love to incorporate texture and words in my work.”
Pearson’s work has been described as a response to both the beauty and simplicity of her natural surroundings, which she uses as a motif to describe the idea of infinite reality and encourage contemplation.
Fayetteville’s residents will have a chance to judge for themselves July 22 (part of 4th Friday) through Aug. 22, at the Schuller, Ferris and Lindstrom Architect’s Gallery, 214 Burgess Street. Work from her “Newcastle Architecture” and “KCMO - Searching For Self” series will be on display.
For more information, call SFL+A Architects at 484-4989, and to view other work of Pearson’s, her website can be found at www.lesliekpearson.com.