Leo Espinosa Profile
posted: November 16, 2006
Leo on a borrowed bike...
Last week I met with Leo Espinosa in Washington Square Park, where he talked about his love of bicycles and art and trying new things.

"Drawing has been my life. I can't remember a single day that I haven't been drawing since I was probably four.  I don't know ... it's just what I love.  I didn't pay a lot of attention in other classes school – everything was just about  drawing.

"A lot of people in my family were artists. Back in history, my great-great-grandfather did some painting in Colombia. And my dad was an architect and my mom was an art teacher in high school. She's a big influence on me: I don't think my mom thinks about success. My mom thinks about enjoying the art and works like crazy.

"When I was a boy, I liked to draw bicycles the most. I fell in love with bikes when I was 10. My parents were not doing well economically, so I couldn't have a bicycle until I was 11 or 12. So I was drawing them, feeling that I could ride those things before I could. When I finally got my first bike, I had to share it with my sister, and it was not hip at all: it was yellow. In those days, I was dreaming for more like a silver kind of blue, something really shiny.

"I don't want to be only an illustrator for the rest of my life. I can't stand people who do the same thing over and over and over.  There's lots more stuff to do: I want to paint, and I want to do animation sometime. I'd like to do collaborations with other people; sometimes I see the work of another illustrator or animator and I just go, "Maybe we could put things together.  We could combine and do something cool." There's always something new that's happening and more possibilities: maybe designing a toy, maybe designing a playground ... that’s my goal.

"If I love a piece of art I'm doing, then it's most likely I'm doing it right. First there is the process of doing it, but second there is the expectation of what is going to happen when somebody else sees it. I'm dying for the response! I'm not the kind of artist that wants to stay on the sideline; I want to be in front, to see the faces of people when they are looking at my work or commenting or getting feedback from them. So there’s those two things that are so important and both make me super happy.  The process of drawing, when you get a certain figure just right, there's that joy of, "Ah! Man, I made it!" It feels so good makes me want to cry sometimes.  I get too emotional with that stuff."