Joanne Leah is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Germany, adopted at birth and grew up in a small mountain town in Southwest Virginia.
These images are part of a two-year body of work that I have been calling Acid Mass. This series is informed by my own personal experiences with the unreal, through acts of rebellion, sexual experimentation and psychedelic voyeurism that I experienced frequently as a teenager. I would take LSD, go to raves, and my mother would make me go to Catholic mass on Sunday morning while I was still hallucinating. The images are based on this world: ritualistic, isolated, trapped, detached, bizarre, childlike and somewhat violent.
Technology has always influenced me but I originally learned traditional black and white photography and darkroom printing techniques. I bought a digital camera in 2008, taught myself how to use it and never looked back.
Social media is a space to connect with people and share ideas. I have also found many subjects through social media. It is like having a digital, online extension of my studio.
I am working on a large grid of images that will be in a show in NYC in march. I am also experimenting with implementing video into my prints, I am calling this my Acid Mass Wall.
I started out studying sculpture, then switched to fashion design because I wanted to make my own wearable sculptures. I started using photography as a way to document my work, but it quickly became a seamless part of the process and eventually a part of the finished product. To me, the act of making images, for the sole purpose of making them, feels very pure, like poetry.
I am influenced by Dada, Deconstructivism and Surrealism. I use common objects in unexpected ways, objectify the body so it appears confusing or broken and ultimately transform the image into a symbol that is part of its own visual language.
I never think about a work as a success, to me it is a step toward something else.