From Renaissance Painters to Renaissance Women: Exploring Artist Kalina Leopold’s Inspiration and Commitment to Social Good

Kalina Leopold works in a fast paced, high-stress industry, but she has discovered a way to relax: painting. The way Kalina describes her medium of choice may lead one to determine that painting chose her. “There’s something about picking up a paintbrush, and getting my hands dirty,” Kalina mused.  She mainly utilizes acrylics and watercolors and credits her childhood art teachers as well as Italian Renaissance painters for her artistic development. 

As a child, she would mimic these Italian painters. She’d try to paint from their point of view, and envision what their life was like when they created each piece. These exercises further solidified her love for painting. And though she enjoys charcoal sketching, there is “something magical about putting paint to canvas, finishing it, and having an actual image.”

Growing up, Kalina was always heavily involved with the arts, and credits her artistic development to her teachers. “I was always blessed with great art teachers.” She said. All of whom, “allowed [her] to explore [her] creativity.” Kalina joked about her meticulous eye, and unwavering attention: “There was always one project each semester that I needed more time with, to make it as grand I wanted to make it.” She thanks those teachers for letting her spend the extra time to create the world she saw in her mind.

Painting also helps her professionally and socially. Creating art flexes mind muscles not used in everyday life. “Being creative in general, helps you work different areas of the brain,” she said. Countless studies affirm her feelings as we’ve seen employers, and educational institutions seek out and reward those who possess this sought after skill.

When spending time with her boyfriend’s children, she passes along lessons learned in youth art programs. She also practices gratitude and acknowledges “how good [she] has it.” She recognizes that she is more fortunate than many. She spoke humbly when discussing her interest in nonprofits, and The Life Preservers Project specifically: “As a woman, it’s hard not to want to support Life Preservers. It can be downright soul crushing to think that in 2018 women are still treated as property.” When pressed about her art’s social impact, she laughed, saying, “Oh jeeze, I don’t know” elaborating with her hopes: “I’m hoping the amount of money it brings in, no matter how small, will be put to good use. Every little bit counts. Even if it can bring in five dollars, that’s five dollars more.”

While the Italian painters were her early inspiration, she finds her inspiration changes depending on her age, and on each specific project that comes to mind:

“My inspiration changes depending on the piece that I’m working on. Sometimes it’s looking out my window and painting the city. Or maybe I’m taking photos on a hike, and I’m struck by how I can mix those photos together to create something.” 

“It all depends,” she said. Like many, Kalina was filled with angst as a teenager. She would “write and paint to get out [her] anger.” Now, she paints to “relax.” Perhaps that’s why art is so crucial and captivating: it serves whatever purpose we as artists and you as viewers need it to serve. It serves a purpose for the artist, a purpose for the viewer, and sometimes those purposes are not the same. Sometimes they intertwine. And sometimes they don’t. That’s the beauty of it: its ability to speak to anyone in any situation—bringing people together from different cultures, religions and political backgrounds. Though we veered down many paths while talking to one another, our conversation came back to the same idea: art makes the world a better place.

Her present piece, which is being showcased at the 9th Annual Life Preservers Fundraiser, is the product of various muses. On the one hand, her relationship with her boyfriend’s kids, and their input greatly influenced the direction of the piece. But at the same time, Kalina wished to dedicate/pay homage to a respected female political figure, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I can’t think of a better human and woman to celebrate at this year’s summer event.” She added.

We thank Kalina for not only participating in our 9th Annual Summer Fundraiser but for making the world a better place with her artwork, vision and commitment to philanthropy.

You can follow Kalina on Twitter: @classickalina and Instagram: @classickalina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *