The Artist Behind It All!
Leslie Charleville is a Louisiana artist who specializes in the 17th century Japanese art form of gyotaku, or fish rubbing. Originally, gyotaku was a means to document the size and species of a fisherman's catch. Leslie has mastered this sophisticated technique on not only fish and marine life but also Louisiana's most popular mascot, the alligator.
From Leslie: "The art is secondary to the message I want to leave with people who I meet. More than anything, I want folks to look at what I do and recognize that’s there a Light on L.Chareville Studios that transcends this world.....after all, it’s not my talent to begin with. I just want to use it for good and make a difference in the lives of the people I encounter!"
what is gyotaku?
Beginning in the 17th century, Japanese fishermen used a printmaking process called "gyotaku" to document their catches, recording the animal’s size and individual characteristics with sumi ink on rice paper.
how does leslie use gyotaku?
Like her Japanese predecessors, Leslie definitely prints a lot of fish. However, she is probably best-known for her alligators. She prints freshly-harvested gators that are twice, three times, even four times her height and weight, never flinching and always ready to adapt to the challenges that inevitably occur when printing a thirteen-foot dinosaur creature.
Leslie’s work is physical. Printing gators and 600-pound tuna is just as labor-intensive as it sounds. More physical than even that, though, is the printing process. When Leslie creates her prints, she takes great care to appreciate and document every little quality that made the animal unique, a creature that lived and breathed. Her prints contain the animal’s DNA, permanently pressed onto the surface and giving the creature new life. Leslie expertly captures the animal’s individual features, imperfections and all, beautifully honoring the animal forever.
I met Leslie while we were both employees of LASM. There, we worked together on a lot of projects, developed a friendship and are still friends today. Even though I have made the move back into small business, we’ve added business partners to the mix and it’s working out well. I have been involved in small business most of my working career as an office administrator.
I have carried that forward to the Studio and do whatever it takes to make the business run smoothly and efficiently. I enjoy outdoor activities, especially walking and hiking, decorating and color theory, cooking, and spending time with my family.
After walking through hard life situations, as we all do, I try to practice intentional thinking and gratefulness every day. It has changed my perspective and my life! Being grateful changes every minute of every day. My goal is to live life with a sense of anticipation and to make a difference in the lives of others.
All photos courtesy of J. Michael Photography Co.
& LJ Studio LLC