The Spiritual Artist Podcast

Turning Disabilities into Art Ability with Photo Realism Artist Leonard Buscemi

February 22, 2024 Christopher J. Miller Season 3 Episode 88
The Spiritual Artist Podcast
Turning Disabilities into Art Ability with Photo Realism Artist Leonard Buscemi
Show Notes

How do we use our perceived disabilities and turn them into assets? In this episode, Host CJ Miller interviews Photo Realism Artist and Art Educator Leonard Buscemi (Lenny) on a unique gridding system that has propelled his students to win state and national awards. 

Born with ADD and dyslexia, Lenny was raised in a "disability-aware" household and forced to discover fresh ways to navigate his artistic skills. He's developed a precise method of gridding to create stunning works of photorealism, leading to a life-long passion for helping those with mental handicaps and disabilities. 

While waiting for his father during a sales call, Lenny found a book with an art activity where you draw as you look at a grid overlay on an original image. Later, he read about Johannes Vermeer and the use of a camera obscura. A camera obscura is a box, tent, or room with a small hole in one side or the top. Light from an external scene passes through the hole. The artist used a projector to trace the image. Lenny was experimenting with these techniques when his teacher emphasized the imp 

His art mentor often said, "It doesn't matter how you get to the result with artwork. It's the result that matters. You don't walk around a museum and say, "How did they do that." 

Lenny discusses how to make a grid for painting to help his students with their process. He found a way to use the system without leaving marks on the art and recommends starting with black-and-white projects before moving on to color.  Lenny references the book by Betty Edwards, "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain," as good reference material. He recommends breaking the art process down into bite-sized pieces. 

CJ and Lenny discuss the importance of honoring art students by displaying their work at home and in schools to encourage creativity. He believes in positive reinforcement. Lenny says, "Inspiration is for amateurs. It's about doing the work." 

Lenny paraphrases Romans 8:28, "All things work together for those who love the Lord." 

According to the art educator, "We can experience bad things and say they destroyed us, or we could say that they created character in us so we can assist others."