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In Frame: Leah Goren

Posted by Greta Braddock on May 11, 2017

Happy almost Mother's Day! We're big fans of Illustrator Leah Reena Goren. But little did we know just how much her artistic talent runs in the family. When Leah commissioned us to frame four artworks created by her mother in one custom frame, we jumped at the chance to showcase this colorful and sentimental artwork and learn more about Leah's mom's influence on her creative success.

Original artworks by illustrator Leah Goren's mom, island matted in our Natural Gallery Frame.

Who: Brooklyn-based illustrator and surface pattern designer, Leah Goren, author of BESTIES and Ladies Drawing Night.

What: Four goldfish and fishbowl prints created by Leah's mom in 1977, made from original watercolors on one of the first color Xerox machines, which Leah tells us lends the pieces an interesting texture. "She had a couple unframed sets lying around our house in California, and last time I visited I took them back to New York with me. It's a little piece of my home in California in my Brooklyn apartment." Leah chose to "island mat" the pieces inside of our Natural Gallery Frame, floating the pieces inside of a custom cut mat, so you can appreciate the paper's edges.

Leah and her mom, back in the day!

From Leah: "My mom's been doing it all, long before I was born! She has a Master's degree in painting from Cal Arts, and her acrylic paintings from this period are some of my favorite paintings ever—brushy, vibrant colors, a little bit Matisse and a little bit Diebenkorn.

From there, she made a ton of soft, slightly surrealist, very 1980s watercolors (admittedly not my favorites) and then had a pet portrait business called Blue Dog Pink Kitty. I was born in 1988 and got to start doing it all with her. We painted huge canvases in the backyard, decorated my first bike with enamel paint and built elaborate stick forts at the beach. Throughout my life I've seen her go through countless phases in her own work. There was the year she spent only knitting and felting imagined animals, and then building ladders from sticks, colorful trees out of cardboard, and large animal planters from clay. I made my first ceramic pieces with her back in 2012. I'm inspired by the way she makes work compulsively, and only for herself.  

She always encouraged me to do exactly what I wanted to do. In high school, I decided I wanted to do summer pre-college art programs, take figure drawing after school at community college, and then apply to art schools. I realized later that other people's parents may control their futures more, or make them choose education that's supposedly more career-driven, and I'm really lucky for the support I had."

Pages from Leah's own sketchbook reveal her loose and playful style and show her mother's influence on her work.

Interested in island matting a piece of your own? Contact us. And be sure to follow Leah on Instagram and then head over to Simply Framed to get your next framing project started!

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