Nuances of neighbourhoods inspire local artist at home and away
by Jane Grljusich
It began in the curious mind of a four-year-old Toby Leek.
A trip to London inspired an art work by a child who has become one of Fremantle’s most prolific contemporary pen artists.
It was 1984, and the first time the boy had seen an iconic London Bus.
Along with the startling contrasts of the world’s most international city, the image of the bus was imprinted.
It was a familiar sight for his English-born father, but it left an indelible mark on the impressionable boy, so much so he drew it for a school project (see image) marking the beginning of his passion to capture the essence of places, objects and things, signifying their very raw essence.
That’s what Toby does best and will be showcased in Local and Afar at Earlywork in the old Mills and Wares Biscuit Factory in South Fremantle next month.
His work is dynamic and bold illustrating architecture, streetscapes, landmarks, iconic buildings and places in vivid colour.
His favourite landmark at home, the South Fremantle Power Station, has recently been heritage listed, and will feature heavily in his upcoming show. Toby has an eye for fine detail and perspective and his work using paint markers (mostly from Japan and Germany) is fresh and innovative.
He is a qualified graphic designer but prefers to dedicate his life to art, working from home late into nights and early mornings.
Once he starts, he can’t stop, and will work for hours on end in one sitting.
His work is very detailed and requires great patience, which fortunately he has in spades.
He finds a focus and peace in his work that is meditative and helps him to manage his mental health.
Toby’s first exhibition Look up Freo highlighted the beautiful heritage buildings in our historic port city.
His distinctive personal style and discernible use of line, shape and colour, has drawn
attention at home and around the world.
He is in high demand to complete commissioned works from here to the UK, USA and beyond.
Toby has a great love of travel, and has exhibited many works inspired by his time in the US, and in particular, his favourite place, the City of Angels, Los Angeles.
His travels have been curtailed due to COVID-19 but he’s optimistic about taking flight again, taking in the sights of cities that inspire him, putting pen to paper, and bringing places to life in vivid colour
Toby’s original works will be on sale, along with limited edition prints on archival museum-quality paper, and commissions can be arranged.
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