We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Leonard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
The end goal for me is inside of books, and other learning tools, as it pertains to the legacy I hope to leave in Animation, and the inclusive, diverse characters I have created. I would like to be known as someone, and an artist who wasn’t afraid of doing something NEW and DIFFERENT. I should be known as an artist who did his best to content, with stories and characters who are undervalued, by putting them in the forefront.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is different, simply because I create characters that are not usually seen on TV in the forefront. I create compelling stories that are diverse, and inclusive to everyone, especially kids and adults who are disabled, or have a medical difference. I’m most excited and proud of my upcoming cartoon series, Team Supreme, because it features kids who have a disability, but their disability is also their superpower. I truly believe a cartoon like mine is extremely necessary, especially today. I got to where I am today by promoting my brand, which is both my artwork, and myself. It wasn’t easy, and I don’t want it to be. The goal is always appreciated more when you really have to work hard and grind for it. I’m grateful for all my failures, and my wins because they molded me. For the people who don’t know, I was homeless from hurricane Katrina for months, I lost my best friend in 2008, I worked a full time job at Home Depot, while going to school full time. I would get off at midnight, stay up until about 4am doing homework, and studying, just to be in class at 9am. I did that for 4 straight years, and my senior year I was in 2 car accidents, back to back days. I ended up getting 5 epidurals in my back, but still made it to class. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was one of the Commencement Speakers, along with Rep. John Lewis. A month ago I lost my older brother who taught me how to draw to pneumonia, but I believe these tests have prepped me for what’s to come. Success. My brand is very positive, and motivational. The day after my brother passed, I was hired by Netflix to work on an animated feature film.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my friend was visiting, I would take them to a sporting event, maybe eat some good food, hit a few walking trails, the mall, Stone Mountain, and more.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout Cinzia Angelini, because she took me under her wing while I was a college student, and provided me with my first industry experience, working on her upcoming short film, MILA. She is still extremely helpful, and supportive to me til this day, and I’m so grateful for her.
Alex Rogers Photography