The Monolith: Artist Gwyneth Leech Turns the Destructive Force of a New Building Into a Source of Inspiration

NYC artist Gwyneth Leech is probably best known for her ongoing series of colorful painted cup suspensions, a project that began when she “bribed” herself with a cup of coffee in the morning on the way to her Midtown Manhattan studio, a mental trick to help overcome the nemesis of artist’s block and the drudgery of living in the city. Facing a string of personal losses, Leech was shocked to learn that the pending construction of a high-rise hotel would soon block her 13-story view of the skyline—she would also soon lose one of her primary sources of inspiration.

However, instead of moving to a new studio, Leech decided to incorporate the rising construction site into her artistic practice, painting the structure day by day as it slowly encroached outside her window. Filmmaker Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. deftly captures this flurry of creativity against a stark backdrop of grief. Via Ivan Kander for Short of the Week:

Proving the power of art, Leech is able to transform the pedestrian (like the coffee cups she’s famous for doodling on) into the profound. A construction site is magically transformed into a symbolic representation of one’s place in life. And, in turn, the film ends up being greater than sum of it’s parts—a short that while not the most polished visually, really grabs the viewer emotionally, without ever succumbing to saccharinity.

You can follow more of Leech’s artwork on Instagram.

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