Iceland Meets San Diego In Leah Pantea’s Abstractions


Iceland Meets San Diego In Leah Pantea's Abstractions

This San Diego artist’s abstract paintings are as much about the journey as they are about the destination

When it comes to her artwork, San Diego-based artist Leah Pantea acknowledges she has an obsession with three key things: the sky, clouds and light. “I think my most dominant inspiration is lighting,” says Pantea who grew up in the mountains just outside Boulder, Colorado. “There is something really crucial for me about light and how it changes,and how it plays on different things.”

We recently caught up with the artist on everything from her stint in a teeny town in Iceland, to why she wishes she never had to do laundry again.

Iceland Meets San Diego In Leah Pantea's Abstractions

Iceland Meets San Diego In Leah Pantea's Abstractions

Iceland Meets San Diego In Leah Pantea's Abstractions

Iceland Meets San Diego In Leah Pantea's Abstractions

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

I like to put on a podcast (“Artist Decoded,” “Portfolio Life, ” or “On Being” usually), or music (Stars, The Weepies, or James Vincent McMorrow are some current favorites), and get into the studio.

If you could get feedback on your work from anyone, who would it be and why?

I have been a longtime admirer of Canadian artist Nava Waxman, and I would love any thoughts from her. Of course, if I am going big, Michelangelo was king. He was dedicated, talented and inspired.

Tell us about a piece that turned out differently than how you expected.

I try to not expect an ending look for my pieces; rather, I like to let them grow and shift. I find this allows me to create freely and trust my hands and heart to guide the work.

What’s one vacation/destination you always tell your friends to add to their bucket list and why?

I went on artist residency to Iceland for three months in 2016. The land in Iceland is still so wild-feeling in most of the country, so there is a purity and simplicity there that I have never experienced before.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?

Michelangelo: As mentioned before, I think that Michelangelo was a true artist, and I’d love him at a dinner party because I think he could have desperately used a night off! Jonathan Safran Foer: Jonathan is absolutely one of my top novelists. David Bowie: When I got my first iPod all I had on it for the first month was David. When I was younger, I admired his fierce individuality and unique sound.

PHOTOS: Lou Mora