We had the good fortune of connecting with Lesley Aine Mckeown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lesley Aine, how does your business help the community?
I believe that art is a crucial part of our society. It plays has a role. It expresses the struggles, triumphs, and emotions. It .inspires us to overcome adversity. It provides hope that humans can overcome our baser inclinations. Art is proof that man has a soul. When a person chooses a piece of art it is an expression of who they are. In this current climate of isolation, connecting to who we are and our place in the world is more important than ever. I create because I have to, it’s like breathing. But I also am conscious that I am creating a connection with the viewer. A subtle reminder that art is integral to our evolution.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was exposed to art almost from my first breath. I was taught to see the world differently than most, I think. When I finally settled on jewelry as my career it was not intentional, it was a progression. An exploration of a medium, testing the boundaries of what was possible. In the back of my mind was also the pragmatic lessons I learned from my parents, if you’re going to do it for a living it needs to be successful. This is the hardest part of being a professional artist. Understanding marketing, pricing, and demographics are just a few of the tools you will need to succeed. My family owned a Niche 100 craft gallery for over 25 years and this gave me a unique insight into the other side of the art world. I learned what a gallery needs from the artist, customer relations and the importance of understanding your buyer. Identifying where you want to go with your work and who your buyer is fundamental. What do you want to make and who will buy it? This is the question I think is most important to address. But all of this is useless if you don’t perfect your craft, the quality of your work, and the uniqueness of your designs are of utmost importance. You can have a great design but if it is poorly crafted the work will suffer. This has taken me years to achieve and I am still not satisfied. I feel my work now is a good example of where I am now as an artist and I am generally proud of the work. But I am always striving to be better, to hone my skills and explore new designs. The challenge of keeping the work fresh is a matter of time and hard work. I never get attached to a piece, it is simply another challenge to work through. The next piece my favorite piece.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always prefer nature to urban environments. I would seek out parks and natural settings. Cultural sites and events would also be on the lst.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who have helped me during my 36-year career. I owe all of my creativity to the genetic brilliance of my parents, both of whom are professional artists. It was the nurturing environment they provided that allowed me to explore and expand the way I see the world. They provided encouragement, inspiration, and most of all choices. I also want to acknowledge Jed Deutschman, who gave me my first job and apprenticeship in his jewelry studio. He introduced me to metal and sparked a love affair that with it that continues today. I owe him the deepest gratitude for teaching me and giving me the skills to create a sustainable career.
Lesley Aine McKeown