June 12, 2008

Max Leclerc: Visual art

Max Leclerc finds inspiration for his paintings and drawings in animated movies, novels, theater and fashion.

In other words, in everything except fine visual art.

"I am just not inspired by fine art," he says, although he admits that until high school much of his art was copies of famous works.

He credits Terri Schatzman, his art teacher at Dixie Heights High School, with helping him find his own voice.

"She let me explore my interests in fashion and fiction, and helped me become more original," he says. "I might have done that on my own eventually, but she helped me do it in a way in which I would get recognition for my art, too."

His interest in classic novels, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter" and Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the d'Ubervilles" led him to begin illustrating the stories.

When he submitted books of his drawings to the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, he won a national silver art portfolio award. That helped him get some scholarship money from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he will start school in the fall.

It will pay a chunk of the bill. "But art school is expensive," he says. So, he'll cut costs by living at home during his freshman year.

He's also been saving money from his part-time job at Abercrombie & Fitch in the Florence Mall, and from a few small art commissions.

Even if money weren't a concern, the 18-year-old says he would still live at home. "I don't think I'm emotionally ready to be on my own," he says matter-of-factly.

He's hoping to major in illustration and pursue his interests in set and costume design, and creative writing on the side.

Sara Pearce