Leslie Codina - Artist

Story by: Lydia Plunk - Photos by: Gene Sasse

Leslie's work in progress

Shekhar Kapur directed many scenes in 1998's movie "Elizabeth" as though he were a fly the wall.  In the film, the queen and her court went about their affairs, unaware they were being observed, leaving the audience with an impression of honest portrayal of events.

What Kapur used for cinematic effect, is what I strive to do in real life when on location at an artist's studio. It is not enough to capture an image of what is crafted. To capture the essence of the creator and created, it is necessary for the artist to be totally at ease with photographer, camera and the long lens.  Once the artist trusts my commitment to showing what drives them creatively, compelling images come to life. This is the story of such an assignment.
Pulling up to address on the tree-lined street, the sage colored Craftsman bungalow in Ontario where Leslie Codina lives and crafts ceramic sculpture, there is a an instant impression of casual friendliness.  Whimsically shaped ceramic figures spell out her name above the recessed freestanding garage. Each letter is painted in colors which are only found in the psyche of an artist fully in touch with her inner-child


  Leslie in studio  

Artwork detail


Inside this first workspace (Leslie has three freestanding structures dedicated to limited production she has nicknamed  "the compound"), near where she rolls blocks of clay into slabs to be cut and shaped- is the quote which inspires her work. It is by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who published in 1810, The Theory of Colours, "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. " Leslie's work is inspired by nature, nurtured by her imagination. At the peak of many of her totem-like structures are carefully placed iconic Codina toppers. These highly stylized forms mimic the shape of a fern frond just as it begins to unfold- then decorated with stylistic joy.

Largely self-taught, ceramicist sculptor Leslie Codina has won many awards on the high-end California art show circuit. This month, her series, dedicated to the four seasons, will be installed at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, California.  
  Studio with work in progress  


Gene Sasse © 2011 | gene@genesasse.com | 909-941-3993