Trinity Western Magazine

No. 25

Russell Leng (’09)

Into the Woods

Russell Leng (’09)

“Art was always something I just did,” says Russel Leng (’09), who both majored and minored in art as a TWU student. “I took every single art class I could. I made my own BFA, essentially.”

Citing the influence of Erica Grimm, Ph.D., Doris Auxier, and Sharalee Regehr, Leng is thankful for his time at Trinity Western. “You build relationships,” he says, “and the encouragement you get and give is more than in a larger program.”

A year after graduation, Leng married Bethany Meckelburg (’09) and in 2011, the pair moved to Scotland so Leng could pursue his Master’s of Fine Arts degree at the University of Edinburgh. Leng graduated in 2013, having gained a broader exposure to the art world. “As an artist, you need to constantly redefine your own tastes,” he says. “Otherwise you’ll just keep making the same work all the time.”

Landscape Painting 2. Acrylic, spray paint on wood panel. 20” x 24”landscape painting 2. acrylic, spray paint on wood panel. 20” x 24”

Throughout his career, Leng has displayed his work at exhibitions worldwide, including Beers.Lambert (London), FFDG (San Francisco), Hungryman Gallery (San Francisco and Chicago), Fleming Collection (London), Embassy Gallery (Edinburgh), Parts Gallery (Toronto), and Trench Contemporary Art (Vancouver). His work has been commissioned by Tiffany & Company, Aritzia New York, and Istanbul’s Raffles Hotel.

Now back in Vancouver, Leng is working on two solo shows: an abstract painting show in Toronto and an installation in Calgary—inspired by sport and the themes of success and failure. “What it always comes back to for me is the site of creation,” he says. “The moment of making is the most exciting part. It inspires me to keep going, or to make a new piece.”

“Being an artist is intertwined in who I am,” says Leng. “The fact that I’ve never really doubted my identity as an artist is a huge confirmation that this is the way God created me.”

by Wendy Delamont Lees
Photography by Wendy Delamont Lees

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