We had the good fortune of connecting with Leigh-Anne O’Brien and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leigh-Anne, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
For me, there is no option of giving up on creating. It is what I was born to do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My senior thesis, exit show, was titled ‘Introspection’. It was as applicable then as it is now. I am a constant observer… Of people, nature, objects… how I fit in to the puzzle… appreciating the detailed rhythms in nature, taking in the layers and depths of color in found objects,… all combining harmoniously on paper and canvas. I use journalling as a tool to organize my thoughts, and translate them into works of art. I am forever a student. I don’t ever want to stop learning. I arrived here one step at a time. My business, collector following, grew organically. One client at a time. I think the challenge in the social media world of today is to keep your head down. Do the work. Don’t compare yourself or your timing to anyone else.
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.
Gainesville Georgia is my hometown. I grew up here, moved to London England for about 4 year with my husband. However, when our children were born, we decided to move back to Gainesville. I’d start the summers day out of Lake Lanier. Do some water skiing, wake boarding and then head to Aqualand’s Pigtails, for a waterside lunch. We would have a long, boozy lunch, and then head back out on the water for the rest of the afternoon. We’d watch the sunset from the dock, and then order to go food from my fav Greek restaurant, Alpha Gyro. Day two, would be ladies of leisure day. Starting with brunch at Avocados, then head to Quinlan Visual Arts Center and Caroline Nix Gallery to check out the latest exhibits. Then we’d head to Style Collectif to shop til we drop. Stop by Scott’s Lounge for Happy Hour, then have dinner at Lunas. Day three, we’d go on a walk from my house to downtown Gainesville. Wilshire Park boasts winding paved trails alongside a creek. Perfect for kids on scooters or walking dogs. Wilshire is part of the Highlands to Islands trail. We’d stop to have tea at Inman Perk, and then pop into Martin Furniture to check out their gorgeous interiors. We’d admire the beautiful public art work along the way.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my passion for art, but for sculpture specifically, to the UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy. Being fully immersed in the rich, artistic, Italian countryside, was the perfect canvas for my budding love of sculpture. I will be forever grateful to my parents, who financed my studies in Italy, and for UGA for offering the amazing opportunity.
Alexandra Haynes Photography Kaylan Bradley