I Am A Lao American Visual Artist: Leslie Condon

Image of artist, Leslie Anne Condon.Leslie Anne Condon is a Boston-area visual artist and emerging arts scholar. Her artwork explores the intersections between visual cultures, social ritual, and global consumer culture. As a scholar, Leslie is interested in Critical Race Art History and issues of representation in the arts. Her recent work addresses the complexity of identity within immigrant communities of color, as well as rituals of mourning.

Leslie graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2011 with a minor in the Fine Arts. She attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts as a Diploma student and earned her Post Baccalaureate in Fine Art 3D from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2011.

What are you eating for comfort these days?

My partner and I visited Morocco a couple of years ago, and now Nicholas regularly makes dinner from the recipes in our Moroccan cookbook collection. Last week, he made Eggplant Zaalouk, which is one of my favorite foods ever. I've been really craving Lao food, so we bought some rice flour for homemade rice noodles, and I will be experimenting with that later this week. Last night, Nicholas made Pad Thai, and we are making spring rolls later today. I feel very lucky and grateful to have a partner that loves food as much as I do. We hope to get to Philadelphia soon so that we can visit the South Philly Barbacoa...and Asian Arts Initiative!

What are you binge watching/reading? Playing on repeat?

I tend to binge-watch while I am working on an art piece. I just finished watching the first season of Watchmen. The third season of True Detective blew my mind; it is truly an unparalleled achievement in storytelling. "Fresh Off the Boat" is a household favorite, so that's also been in the rotation. I am also in the middle of re-reading "Olympia's Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity" by Lorraine O'Grady.

What was the last song you had stuck in your head?

"Creep" by TLC.

What is your favorite unpopular opinion?

This is a really difficult time for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. When it comes to enacting real change, anti-racist or anti-colonial ideas are mostly met with resistance. Perhaps my favorite unpopular opinion is that white supremacy can only be dismantled by prioritizing Black, Brown, and Indigenous voices, bodies, and communities.

What was the last thing that made you smile or laugh?

Everything my dog, Annie, does brings me pure joy. She is a 15-year-old Spaniel mix and has so much personality. My sister rescued her when she was only one-year old, and she's been in the family ever since. Annie and I spend all day together; she even comes in my studio and naps while I work.

What is the most interesting piece of art you've seen?

The way that a particular piece of artwork impacts me is in constant flux, and I can't say that one singular piece has been more interesting to me than all other works. Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work has a deep influence on the way that I look at materials and my overall creative process. Each time I encounter his work, I am instantly brought to a heightened emotional state. There is a tenderness, vulnerability, and a humanity to his work that I've come to look for in other artwork, including my own.

What would you'd like to tell our readers?

I am guest curating "New Narratives: Reclaiming Asian Identity Through Story" through Unbound Visual Arts in Boston, MA. The show will run virtually from July 5 to September 8, and in-person exhibition opportunities will be explored later this fall. Please go to unboundvisualarts.org.