Celebrated for her lyrical imagery and delightful storytelling experiments, Leanne Shapton has created a stunningly unique body of work – and proves that you don’t have to settle for one discipline only.
Leanne Shapton is as famous for her illustrations and artworks as she is for writing books like Swimming Studies, or her beautiful, artistic love story Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, told through an auction catalog after the couple’s breakup. Juggling her personal work and being the art editor for The New York Review of Books, she still has a lot of passion left for her ongoing fight for illustrators finally getting taken seriously as thinkers too. We talked to the Canadian, who lives in New York, about why abstraction makes things clearer, why painting is like swimming – and her love for German illustrators.
You’re an artist and illustrator, an author and art director, and you also have your own publishing house. How do you introduce yourself when you meet someone?
Leanne Shapton: I just say that I’m Leanne. (laughs) And then it depends on the context. I might say writer, painter or that I have a little publishing company. It’s all fluid, because I wear so many hats.