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Check Out Leroy Miranda’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leroy Miranda.

Hi Leroy, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Hi and thank you for asking. I started painting in 2012 when I was 24. I had been working in restaurants in New Orleans since I was 17, making $13 an hour for 50 hour work weeks and taking home $400 a week.

I started making art on the side and giving pieces away to a few of my friends. One of my friends decided to get his framed at a local art gallery on Magazine Street. The owner liked my work and offered to show some of my work. I called him on the phone and told him I had a lot of pieces. He asked if I’d send him photos. I didn’t think that was a good idea. I offered to bring the art to him. He agreed and I brough him a whole stack of art I had painted.

We laid it all out on the floor and we put together my first solo show, which premiered in July, 2012. That show sold completely out. Needless to say I was inspired.

I had my second show the next year. Half of the pieces sold from the show and then the LSU Medical Center stopped by later in the week and bought 27 of my pieces. They are still hanging in the hospital.

So, I went from $400 a week to all of a sudden making over $5000 in one week. A light bulb went off, and I was like this is what I should be doing and it is what ’m doing now.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I am constantly making mistakes and learning from them. I did not have a guidebook or manual that I could read. I think especially with art there are a lot of taboos and lines you should not cross, but I like to cross them. The artworld is full of good and bad people, just like every other industry. In the art world, I”ve learned you definitely need to have a lawyer read your contracts for you.

It has not necessarily been a smooth transition nor have sales been steady. I definitely have months where I worry about paying my bills, but somehow, somewhere, something happens and it’s like a miracle. Poof, I make a sale. But I love it.

I just figure my job is to just paint something original, and someone will like it or hate it. I paint for myself, first and foremost.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My work consists of multimedia artworks. I’m primarily a painter; but I sculpt when I can. I use all mediums and all forms to create art. My favorite thing is to have shows where people can look at my artwork and enjoy it.

I think the inspiration of my work comes first from my mother who had a talent but was a schizophrenic. She died about three years ago. I took care of her towards the end of her life. Her life journey is really a sad story. How this country treats mentally ill people is a shameful. Growing up with her definitely altered the way I see human beings and showed me to see them for who they are as human beings, and not by a stigma of mental illness.

What am I most proud of is my thirteen-year-old son. He is also a big inspiration in my life.

I have had some commissioned artwork that I am very proud of this year. I had a commission for a client I did that I waited three years for, and it finally happened. It looks amazing.

What sets you apart from others?

We live in a collective democracy; it takes a village. I’m not a competitive person; I just like to make my art.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Only that being creative is a form of healing. I think it’s one of our natural human instincts to be creative. So practice it. It is a practice and never give up. Be consistent and know that it’s not a race, it’s a marathon.

Take good advice with its weight in gold, listen to it, but don’t use it all the time.

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