Leesa is a figurative artist who writes when the grief is too overwhelming to paint and paints when she can’t find the words, pouring her emotions onto the canvas. Art has been her therapy and catharsis through the living nightmare of child loss, painting and writing her journey through trauma to find the spiritual feminine.
Drawing portraits since her teens, Leesa decided to follow her passion for art and fashion and use real faces as her canvas, winning Hair and Makeup Artist of the Year 2003. Having worked on many famous faces and in fashion, television and bridal, she started painting faces on canvas in 2016 to deal with the death of her beautiful daughter Star Dawn.
One of the highlights of Leesa’s career was an artist residency at Chateau Orquaveau, France, in 2019. Living at the chateau for four weeks with artists from around the world was a dream come true and an experience she will never forget. She was also Vice President for RedWest Creative Co-op, which was extremely rewarding and provided many opportunities to learn skills that will help her career as an artist.
Starting her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2020, Leesa has pushed the boundaries of her practice exploring different techniques and mediums. The growth in her practice shows in her latest pieces. Inspired by fashion, mythology, and the occult, Leesa purposely sources materials such as textiles, fashion magazines and photographs to explore how society measures gender, ideas of power and notions of beauty. Similarly, she uses text as a reminder of how the spoken word can propel change for future generations.
Leesa aims to empower the intersectional feminine identity by painting women who inspire, adorning them with gems, butterflies and flowers, symbolic of the fraught relationship women have to beauty, innocence, protection and patriarchy. “Importantly I use them as separate components that may stand on their own or to an idea of interconnectedness, overlapping identities and intersectionality. My objective being to arrange them to form a harmonious artwork that links all of these elements together.”
Leesa has participated in several group exhibitions, finally having her first solo show in 2021at BlackCat Gallery. Leesa’s intention has always been to capture the likeness of her subjects - Painting faces, either on canvas or in the flesh, will always be a constant source of pleasure and her true passion!
Leesa Gray-Pitt acknowledges the people of the Wathaurung, Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands she creates and calls home. Leesa respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging. Always was - Always will be!
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
2020 - Commenced Master of Fine Art at RMIT Melbourne
2019 - I am an Artist Course at Arts Assist South Melbourne
2017 - Oils one on one with Caroline Esbenshade
2016 - Acrylics Workshop with Caroline Esbenshade
- Life Drawing Classes at Saltwater Community Centre
2014 - Diploma of Cosmetic Tattooing
2003 - Certificate II in Makeup Artistry
- Certificate in Dress Style Hair
2021 - Co-curate, organise and promote RedWest $50-$500 group exhibition
2020 - Curate, organise and promote RedWest Artist Aid Bushfire Relief Art Auction/Exhibition
2019 - Voted as Vice President for Red West Creative Co operative
- Co-curate, organise and promote RedWest PrimoRed group exhibition
- Artist in Residence at Chateau Orquevaux France 2nd to 30th May
2021 - RedWest PrimoRed 2 Group Exhibition 2nd - 23rd July at C & H Gallery, Melbourne
- Solo Exhibition ‘The Seven (not so) Deadly Sins’ at Black Cat Gallery 18th - 28th February
- RedWest Group Exhibition $50-$500 at Sunshine Art Space
2019 - NOW, WEST Group Exhibition 15th - 23rd November Longspace Gallery
- RedWest PrimoRed Group Exhibition 8th Nov - 7th Dec C&H Gallery
- All The Things That Remain Group Exhibition September NOIR Darkroom
2016 - Throw Up Your Art Exhibition- Colourbox Studios
2020 - Missy pet portrait for Katelyn Matheson
Double pet portrait for Jo Hall
Grandparents portrait for private collector
2019 - Bailey pet portrait for Katelyn Matheson
2018 - Libertee De la Femme for private collector
- Joker and Haley Quinn for private collector
- Pretty Girls Kisses for private collector
2017 - Wall Art for Cake Creations by Kate Cake shop
GRANTS AND AWARDS
2019 - Shortlisted in the Wyndham Art Prize
2018 - Denis Diderot (A-i-R) Grant Artist in Residence at Chateau Orquevaux France May 2019
- Community Pathways Scholarship Grant from Wyndham City Council
2003 - Hair and Makeup Artist of the Year
PUBLICATIONS AND REVIEWS
2021 - Star Weekly for first solo exhibition at BlackCat Gallery
2020 - Star Weekly for RedWest Artist Aid Bushfire Relief Art Auction/Exhibition
2019 - Star Weekly for primoRed group exhibition
2018 - Wyndham Star Weekly for Chateau Orquevaux
- Article and video in Our Voice - Mercy Health Newsletter
2017 - Artworks published on Galphia online gallery www.galphia.com
- Published interview and art in Not Random Art Magazine
- RED Redux installation art for Wyndham City “Heart of Armour”
2019 - MAVA Collective
2018 - RedWest Creative Co-op
Articles and Interviews
Please get in touch for more information about Leesa Gray-Pitt, to discuss commissions, possible collaborations, or for any inquiries regarding artwork or hair and makeup.