The Wonderous Works of Nicolas Leach / John Mark Pinter
Since around the age of 16, Nicholas Leach has been practicing his hand in the world of art. Currently, Leach is a junior here at Mississippi College pursuing a degree in studio art. When asked what prompted him to pursue a career in art he stated, “I’ve always been creative and have enjoyed doing creative projects and such, but as far as drawing and painting, I didn’t actually have any interest in it until high school.”
Leach, as most future art majors tend to do, began his journey by drawing a big realistic eye during class. He went on to add more features and began drawing faces. It wasn’t until later when his great-grandmother commissioned him to draw a portrait of an old family photo that had begun to fade that his interest in art blossomed.
As the years went by, Leach continued to pursue this passion. Inspired by artists such as John Singer Sargent, Van Gogh, and Tintoretto, Leach has been able to develop a unique and captivating style. “I enjoy emotive paintings that tell a story and show good craftsmanship, ones that were thought out rather than spattered on. It’s what I’ve based my personal style on.”
Leach works in a variety of mediums. His most skillful use of a medium is in graphite. “I did a self portrait recently that felt, to me, like the pinnacle of what I can accomplish using graphite,” Leach said. He went on to describe how he aspires to become more skilled in oil paints. Recently, he has been using POSCA acrylic paint pens to create portraits of people close to him. He described one of his favorite pieces using this medium: “I did a piece for my two friends. They commissioned me to do whatever I wanted. So, I took a picture of them in my Jeep where they’re writing on the ceiling – I get everyone who rides with me to write or draw something inside my Jeep – and the light from my car was shining on their faces in an intriguing way.” This piece is just one of many in a series of POSCA portraits that Leach has made in the past few months.
While most of his works are a traditional size, on occasion Leach will work on large-scale projects such as murals. “I’ve done three murals on walls and one on my own car.” If you have walked around campus, you may have seen his car mural for yourself. A scenic geometric landscape spans across the driver’s side of his Jeep, capturing the attention of passersby with soft candied blues and yellows flowing behind a dark blue mountain with orange highlights.
“The other three were all for churches. Two of which were from the church I go to now, Soul City Church.” One of these two can be found in the baptistry right behind where the preacher does his message. It serves as an homage to everything that Soul City Church has done for its community. The other is a graffiti work that says ‘splash city’ just outside of their community pool.
“The other mural I’ve worked on is in my home church for the youth group. It was in the corner of two walls and shows a cross coming up with arrows spewing out of the cross containing all the names of God. It is like, a message of raising up the youth in that youth group and then sending them out with that message.”
Out of all that he does, Leach enjoys capturing people’s likenesses the most. He finds that making a portrait of someone can be just as narrative as telling a story about them. “Art, for me, is just my job. But it’s also a way of worshiping and showing the beauty of creation and using that to hopefully glorify God.” He went on to describe that people, with their uniqueness, captivate his attention and allow him to express his abilities. “If I do too many drawings of a building or a pasture, I’ll probably get bored and quit. But I can draw someone’s face 1,000 times over. Everybody’s so unique and it’s crazy to me that, with just a few marks of a pencil, I can create a likeness of a person.”
You can find Leach’s artwork on his Instagram page @nicholasleach_art or his website nicholasleachart.com.