We had the good fortune of connecting with Margalena Lepore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margalena, what do you want your legacy to be?
Legacy plays a huge role in my work. In most of my series, I end with a piece that challenges the viewer to think about about their legacy. Whether with words or the composition as a whole. I do this because of how much I have thought and reflected on legacy. I paint skies because you have to look up. You can’t be looking at you or the ground and see the sky. It is a constant reminder of how short life is and how much we can do with it. I want my legacy to be one of kindness and compassion. One where my faith is central and everything I do radiates out from it. I was in a bad accident years ago, and moments like that stop you in your tracks and make you consider what you would have left behind. Was I authentic? Did I listen well? Did I love well, most of all? Legacy is something that lasts far longer than our lives on earth. When we die, legacy keeps going. I believe we still feel the legacy from many many generations before us. I know, if I touch just one person, if I love just one person well, that will have an impact into future generations.
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 art has been on a journey for many years. I received my BA in Art and Design from LaGrange College, but I was just scratching the surface then. I wasn’t planning on becoming an artist, but a professor of art. I was in a car accident in 2010 that changed everything. It felt like years of struggling to figure out how to balance work and the constant pain I was dealing with. I had this self-inflicted idea that I had to prove myself and make decent money. I wasn’t painting a lot; just enough to get through the few events I did each year. In 2015, after serious prayer and reflection, I knew God was telling me to paint. This is what my calling is…what He has created me to do. So I did. I paid off my debt, saved enough for a few months, and started painting. A year into this journey, as I listened to people as they viewed my work, this idea for skies emerged. I began painting big skies with stories behind them; the first series being the Journey Series. It was a 5 piece reflection on my accident and the storms we go through in life. The series is the process of a storm from start to finish. I have been painting skies, and lots of moody ones, since. The most rewarding thing for me, the one that sets my heart on fire and tears in my eyes, is when someone stands in front of one of my pieces and says “I am right here. This is where life is for me.” There is nothing better. I want to bring a sense of rest and understanding to the trials of life. A knowing that you are not alone on the journey. I have learned running in my own lane is huge for success. I would give this advice to anyone pursuing art or any other field…Stop looking around at everyone else. Do your thing and do it to the best of your ability. Things happen as they should and when they should. If you are faithful with little, you will be ready to be faithful with much.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My first stop is ALWAYS Krog Street. I love starting a slow Saturday there. Eat a little lunch, peek in the shops, then wander the Beltline or neighborhood. It is a must to end back at Krog with dinner at Suprica. I would want to take them to the High Museum of Art and just poke around the galleries. I absolutely love the inspiration of the atmosphere there. Then head over to Dancing Goats on Ponce and get one of their fabulous Chai Tea Lattes and sit on the bed swing and talk and watch and take in the surroundings. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
100% my family. My parents and brother have been the biggest cheerleaders of my work since I started doing it! I remember the moment I told my parents that I wanted to be a full-time artist. They didn’t even hesitate. It was “Go for it.”
Life is Wild- James Charles Smith Photography Alex Finch Photography