Leslie Barlow | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Leslie Barlow

Portrait of Leslie Barlow with an original painting.


MFA in Visual Studies
Current Career
Freelance Artist
Minneapolis, Minnesota

How does it feel to be a practicing artist?

That's a tough question, because it feels like a lot of things all at once. It feels like work, joy, vulnerability, play, and everything in between. I enjoy being an artist because it is a never-ending challenge of the mind, body, and spirit. Not many careers have as many twists and question marks and surprises as being an artist does.

What is your artwork about?

My current work employs the figure and narrative elements to explore complex social issues like race, multiculturalism, "otherness," representation, and identity. I investigate these through the use of the personal—often creating works depicting family, friends, people in my community, and personal experiences—to reflect the subtle and not-so-subtle integrations of these ideas into individual lives and identities.

What inspires you?

Humanity, in all its complexity and horridness and weirdness and loveliness.

What is your biggest takeaway from MCAD?

The community I found at MCAD was wonderful. I came away with many great relationships with faculty and other students that I hope to have for a lifetime.

Any advice for prospective art and design students?

Eat your vegetables!