Kowloon-born, Sydney-based artist Stellar Leuna is definitely no Lisa Frank. Her interest isn’t in rainbows or unicorns, but rather, witches and occult symbolism.
The young artist has a cult following (no pun intended) for her monochromatic style of illustration. Her subject matter includes the usual girly stuff, like you know, death, demonic possession, and counter culture.
Leuna’s work might be about the occult but she’s definitely no underground artist. She started her career by making merch designs for local bands, as well as DIY zines. But now, her portfolio includes creating print publications, online editorials, and large-scale murals for VANS and The Sydney Opera House.
More recently, Leuna collaborated with PRADA on their women’s ready-to-wear SS18 collection, which debuted last September at Milan Fashion Week.
We were lucky enough to spend some time with Leuna to find out more about her and her art.
>>Also watch: the full interview and live art session with Stella Leuna
Tell us how your distinctive black and white drawing style was developed?
“I love indie comics and EC comics and have always been drawn to the comic book artist’s ability to draw something with really skilled technical ability while still maintaining a cartoony and light-hearted vibe.
“I also know a lot of them draw with a brush and ink, so I decided to learn to do it myself. I’ve never been super into colourful art and felt most comfortable working in black and white as I enjoyed the contrast.”
What are the tools/equipment you use to create your artwork?
“Ink and small brushes, but I also switch between that and digital illustration on Clip Studio Paint Pro.”
In German and dutch folklore, Tonight (April 30) is Walpurgisnacht, or 'Witches Night', a night where witches would come together for a sabbat gathering at the highest point of the Harz Mountains in Germany. This night is celebrated in Germany in a way that is similar to the way we celebrate Halloween! 🕯 Thanks @cat_coven for sharing, as I wasn't aware it was a celebrated holiday across Europe and Scandinavia. ✨
Tell us about your interest in “occultism, counter culture and 18th century Romanticism” and how this is reflected in your artwork?
“I feel like occultism and counter culture stuff kinda ties in together. I’ve just always loved alternative music and art so this was a very natural progression from the low-brow stuff to eventually learning more about Romanticists of the 18th century. Coincidentally, they often paint similar subject matters and themes such as love, death and mourning.”
Who are the illustrators that most excite you these days?
“There’s an artist I follow on Instagram, I have no idea what his/her actual name is or where they’re from, but you can find their art at ‘@alterofsorrow’. They do similar stuff to mine but they use the stippling technique to draw as opposed to brush strokes.”
You can find out more about Stellar Leuna here.
>>Also watch: Interview with Aussie art icon Ben Brown about his work