Fabulous People: Lelia Byron

Lelia Byron is an interdisciplinary artist who makes paintings, murals, sculptures, installations and public art projects. (Check out Byron’s incredible works by visiting www.leliabyron.com.) Learn about Lelia Byron…

Hometown: New York City

First job: When I was in high school, my first job was as an assistant teacher for children’s art classes at a museum.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: Exploring.

“Quilt.” Wood and paint, 8.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 feet, Rochester, NY.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: It’s really difficult to pick one favorite project! This past year, I really enjoyed working on a series of murals in a small city in Finland. The murals, titled “Following the Thread,” used lacemaking as a metaphor for social fabric and were based on photographs and interviews with lace-makers. I painted the murals in a public park, and it was great to be able to interact with so many visitors about the project on a daily basis. Another project I really enjoyed working on this past year is a sculpture titled “Quilt.” Now on view at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the sculpture is a three-dimensional quilt made from painted wood. Some other favorite projects of mine include an over 60-ft.-wide sculpture made from plastic textile waste, a series of paintings about people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island fighting for labor rights, and a series of paintings about women coffee farmers in Colombia.

Someone who inspires you and why: People who are dedicated, intelligent and are active in responding to problems with creativity.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: My advice would be to keep making work and try to create your own opportunities.

Favorite quote: One quote I’ve been thinking about recently is, “Artists need to create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy.”

What makes someone fabulous: People who are kind to others, thoughtful and not afraid to be unique.

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