Artist Profile: Leona Fietz

I’ve been chuffed to find myself immersed in a world of artists absolutely killing it lately, and Brisbane-based type honey Leona Fietz is no exception. From emotive and organic sketchbook entries to super slick typographic logos; Leona’s portfolio is prolific and only improving. With simple but dreamy colour palettes and the social media presence of a stylish god, I foresee see big things in her future. I can only assume she got her pen license as an very young sprout because her typography skills are next level.

I had a little chat to her about what got her in the game and her methods of inspiration — have a read of her words, a squizz of her work and as always, support local!

Photos of Leona’s studio thanks to Mez Macleod.

Hi Leona! Thanks for being part of a li’l interview with On Jackson Street, it is very awesome to be surrounded by so many talented folks creating and sharing with the world. Can you start by telling everyone a little bit about yourself? 

Hey! I’m Leona, a typographer, designer and illustrator – I live and work in the leafy side of East Brisbane.

Even though we know that making is engrained in a lot of artists, it’s always cool to hear how people got started and what inspired them to start creating. What’s your personal journey in to the creative world?

I studied Graphic Design at the University of the Sunshine Coast – at the time my goal was to end up working in a slick design studio full-time.  So I moved to Brisbane where I already had a letterpress internship lined up and then moved around quickly in a few studios working as an in-house designer, trying to find the right fit.  At the same time my crushes for type masters like Jessica Hische and Erik Marinovich grew and deep down I wanted to be doing the same thing. So feeling uneasy in my third design role in a year I decided to quit with no clients and explore my itch for type.  I started keeping a sketchbook for the first time, ordered a stack of typography books I saw my idols referencing via instagram and interviews and it kept unraveling from there!

Besides paper and web references, what are some things that inspire you to make? 

A really moody album – e.g Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband or recently Braids – Deep in the Iris. Walking past a hand painted sign and discovering a new way to draw a letter.  Scheming and giggling with friends over coffee. Japan is still inspiring me – how the colorful architecture and simple, friendly and signage takes the serious edge off – it was so refreshing seeing pops of colour on vans, pastel brick buildings and a smiling face telling us which way to go.  The documentary Beautiful Losers and that group of artists – always.

I love the playful and raw spirit in your work, what emotions do you hope viewers get from your typographic style?

I try to pair the style of my work with the message or the mood – so it depends on the message and how the viewer takes it.  Sometimes the approach to style ends up being more spontaneous if I’m experimenting with aesthetics and treatments rather than the concept.

How do you think the resurgence of handmade art is affecting the art community?

I think it’s opened the opportunity for individuals to develop niches with traditional approaches, encourages adding personality to work and getting hired for it.

What are 3 important things in your studio that are essential to your work? 

Ink, tracing paper, scanner.

Who are a handful of artists inspiring you at the moment?

I’ve been working on photo-based book documenting a trip to Japan with 35mm and sketchbook entries in the past few weeks, so I’ve been looking at Japanese magazine Mook Mash a lot. The badass adventure goddess Molly Steele has been feeding me strength to give less fucks, be brave and design your own lifestyle, Timothy Goodman’s insta therapies are so great and raw, Lucas Grogan’s detail is amazing and his unfiltered use of words cracks me up.

Can you curate and share a 3 song  playlist that is ideal for understanding Leona Fietz? 

A condensed typical studio day playlist goes like this:
1. REALiTi – Grimes
2. I Waited For You – Simian Mobile Disco
3. Boss Ass Bitch – PTAF (If I’m kicking goals)

Want to see more? Follow Leona’s work below