It is of special interest for me personally to get to ask this brilliant metalcaster, artist and sculptor a few questions, (although I noticed when reading them that there´s so much more that I want to know really…)
Me: Hello Wes, please introduce yourself to the readers. Where do you roam and what kind of art do you create?
Wes: My name is Wes Leonard , I reside on an acreage on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am an abstract sculptor working in welded and stainless steel, cast aluminum and cast bronze.
Me: How did you get Into casting, what made you pursue this craft?
Wes: I met a very well know artist in the 80’s and we ended up working together for over 35 years.
Me: Have you tried other ways to “express yourself” or just betong creative like printing on canvas etc.?
Wes: Besides doing sculpture I have done a lot of functional art such as welded steel beds, tables and candleholders. I have also done candleholders, menorah and crosses in cast aluminum and cast bronze. This year I did a series for Christmas which included snowmen, trees and birds in cast aluminum. Over the years I have also done more corporate awards than I care to remember.
Me: Is this your fulltime occupation or more of a hobby?
Wes: This is only a hobby, do it because I enjoy it.
Me: How have your proffessional life been? What have you worked with?
Wes: For most of my working career I was employed as a Power Engineer. I am also a Chemical Engineering Technologist and a Journeyman Machinist so have worked in these fields as well.
Me: Some of your castings are quite “abstract”, can you tell us something about your thoughts on those?
Wes: In my abstract sculpture I try to depict things in nature, stuff that may be found in the depths of the oceans or perhaps outer space. Releasing one’s inner child can give interesting results, try to dance like no one is watching and do what you like, not what you think others will like !
Me: Can you give some good advice when it come to marketing and selling art?
Wes: I don’t need to sell my work, but have several collectors that buy enough pieces to keep my hobby account in the black.
Me: How was your 2020?
Wes: I survived 2020, had lots of shop time, would have been lost without that !!!
Me: I know you have cast some beautiful crosses as well as menorahs, do you confess to any religion/faith?
Wes: I don’t think religious affiliations come into my art, I make things because I think they have beauty. The Celtic crosses came as a result of a photographer at a show in a Saskatchewan gallery putting the challenge to me. I really did not think I could get the required detail due to the fact that the patterns for these are carved in styrofoam before they are cast in aluminum.
Me: For me who is a “fellow metalcaster” it would be interesting to hear some about your prefered technique and equipment…
Wes: My preferred casting technique is the Lost Foam Process. The pattern for your piece is carved out of styrofoam. This pattern is then placed in a flask and sand is packed around it with a channel left to the surface of the sand. Molten metal is poured into the channel, melting away the styrofoam and replacing it with solid metal. Once the metal solidifies whatever shape you had in foam you now have in metal. You have lost your pattern so each piece is a “one of”.
Me: Feel free to “ask yourself something”, what would you ask yourself If you were the interviewer?
Wes: I am asking myself why I didn’t retire years sooner so I could enjoy my hobby !!!
Me: Thank you very much Wes! Please tell us how/where we can find your fantastic art castings? Instagram or perhaps a webshop?
Wes: You can see some of my works on instagram @wmleonard
I think that Wes´s castings are really topnotch…and the work he does with the polishing on some of the pieces, wow! I feel that I got a lot to learn when I see the stuff coming out of his shop. The abstract pieces he has cast is something that I have learned to enjoy more and more the more I see/study them. Really fascinating and beautiful things. I absolutely love them. To me, Wes Leonard is a true inspiration. Below you can see some of his amazing creations. You should absolutely check out his insta…