west elm leah durner pillows trays collaboration

Leah Durner‘s abstract paintings in oil, gouache, and poured enamel were the inspiration behind her colorful new collaboration collection with west elm. We love her eye-popping vibrancy and post-Warholian pop sensibilities. So we took a look inside Leah’s studio to learn more about what inspires her, and her daily practice as a working artist in New York City.

west elm silk pillows leah durner painter

What inspires you?

My primary inspiration is the vibrancy and density of New York City and its amazing inspiring people! I am also inspired by the athleticism, physical daring, and psychedelic color and design of surfer and skateboard culture. I have had a strong interest in film, fashion, music, history, philosophy, and design since I was a child, so all of these sources have built a tremendously rich treasure house of material that I can reference!

leah durner west elm silk pillows modern painting decor

Tell us a little about your studio space.

My studio is in my home and my perfect day is getting up in the morning, going right into the studio with my coffee and diving in! I need solitude and quiet for my work. This balances (and is nourished by) the stimulation and noise of the city. I also work in museums, drawing from antique sculpture as a practice to maintain my drawing skills and focus. I primarily work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – one of the great resources of New York. Drawing from sculpture is a traditional and grounding practice.

west elm leah durner silk pillows modern art decor

What is your studio practice like?

First and always I build my personal color library and maintain my technical skills and focus by drawing, which is also a kind of meditation. I always have my eyes open for surprising combinations of color and surface and take notes and photographs for my personal inspiration library. My paintings may be based on the colors I see on graffitied trucks, a construction site, a major fashion designer’s collection, street signs, etc. Everything and everyone I see is a source!

leah durner painter west elm rococo drink tray

In the studio I spend a great deal of time mixing color…my primary concern and where the main decisions are made. When I pour the paint for the poured enamels it is very active and physical and I need to stay totally focused—there is an element of accident involved as to how the colors flow into each other and the final painting always surprises me!

west elm leah durner painter modern home images collection

You can see Leah Durner’s portfolio on her website, and her paintings are available through Artspace.

Images: west elm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


February 15, 2013

She’s fantastic!


February 16, 2013

It is a joy to learn more and more “behind the scenes”
Helps me appreciate the artist and the art more…..
I am not very creative by nature so stimulate is imperative for me!
Thank you for doing that for me Leah Durner!

David Cohen

February 16, 2013

Wonderful artist sharing her joy with the world

Chic ‘n Cheap Living

February 17, 2013

Such beautiful combinations of pattern and color! NYC definitely provides such beautiful inspiration too and her work highlights both the vibrance and beauty there!

Teddy Deakin

February 21, 2013

I think my sister is amazing! I love her and her many talents. So proud of you! I am ordering the trays for sure.


February 27, 2013

Love the pillows.

Related Posts