Who are you?
My name is Joanne Leah and I am an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. I was born in Germany, adopted at birth and grew up in a small mountain town in Southwest Virginia. I create photo-based images examining the relationship between the human form and conventional objects, materials and substances.
What is Acid Mass about?
Acid Mass started when I was a rebellious 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. My work is based on my perception of that experience: ritualistic, cultish, surreal and somewhat violent.
What was your intention behind the series?
It began casually, but evolved into intentionally considering my personal history and childhood memories. I feel as if I am conducting otherworldly science experiments depicting human subjects enveloped in heavy jewel tones. Staging body parts as design elements, I entomb my subjects in mysterious materials and substances, transforming them into something beyond human.
What inspired the series and it’s use of color?
I started working with a vivid color palette after finishing a dark, low-light, unsaturated series inspired by German Renaissance paintings. I struggled with color for months, and almost gave up because the images looked too commercial. I finally realized the colors should resemble muted jewel tones influenced by my previous low-light series.
Can you tell us a little about your shooting process?
My father is a scientist, and my process emulates the scientific method of research and investigation. I "collect" props, food, liquids, colors and human subjects. Each color, concept, object and subject is chosen carefully based on how they will interact while aligning with my subconscious vision. I document sequences of movement and interaction, and have started creating video loops using my still images