We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Leonard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, what’s your definition for success?
I don’t believe success is based on money, or fame. I believe success is about the positive legacy we leave. If I’m able to change lives with my artwork, and storytelling ability, that’s success for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is extremely diverse, and my brand is inclusion, and diversity. I make art and create characters that look like everyone, especially those who have a disability or differences. I believe our differences are what makes us dope, so I show that in my artwork. I’m most proud of my cartoon, Team Supreme. This is a cartoon like no other, as it is inclusive to kids who have a disability, but also have super powers. I wanted to show something very different on tv, as it pertains to kids and adults. I got tired of seeing the same cartoon, so created the most diverse cartoon ever. I got to where I’m at today with tenacity and hard work. I’m not the best artist, but my artwork and what I stand for was enough to get me noticed by some amazing people. It definitely was/is not easy, especially in the animation industry, because the lack of diversity and inclusion is so crucial, it’s hard to get in. I just stayed the course, and continued to grow as an artist. I knew I wasn’t the best, but I also knew I can compete with the best. My competitive nature wouldn’t allow me to give up, so I just have a chip on my shoulder now. A good one. Lessons that I’ve learned along the way like patience, humbleness, timing, and who you know, definitely came into play. I was fortunate enough to meet some dope people who really believed in me, like Creator of the Mila Film, Cinzia Angelini, Chris Young, Jason Weaver, Lena Waithe, Rishi Rajani, Gisselle Legere, Omar Dorsey, and many more. One thing I do know is, you never know who’s watching. I want the world to know that I’m here to make a difference, and bring people together with my art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a huge homebody, but if my friend came into town for a week, I’d like to try Slutty Vegan, go to Atlantic Station, maybe hit a few malls, and probably just be spontaneous.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my father. My dad grew up poor in Texas, was a top running back out of Texas, blew his knee. He joined the Air Force at 18, and is a retired Chief. He has 3 Masters Degrees, and 2 Bachelor’s Degrees. He always supported, and motivated me to do the best I can do, while being a man of integrity. He always inspires me. My older brother, Jason Leonard passed away a month ago, and he’s the one who taught me how to draw, so I’d like to recognize him.
All photos taken with a camera are by ALEX ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY