Born in New York City in 1953, Leslie Lew grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey and in Chicago. Her father was a well-known executive art director, and her subject matter was influenced by the commercial ads and products that surrounded her. Her underlying theme deals with childhood memories, and growing up in America. She examines American culture and how it reflects on our tastes historically- good or bad.
For over twenty-five years, Leslie Lew has been painting in a technique that she calls "Sculpted Oils". With thick, sculpturally rich swirls of vivid color, she captures the essence of whatever she depicts, bringing it to life. She received her BFA And MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied with Ray Yoshida, who was part of the non-mainstream art movement of the "Hairy Who". It was there that she started her thick style with the "Supermarket" series in which she built out all the products with sculpted oil paint. During her graduate work, she was invited to participate in the SUNY/ Semester in New York City, a program much like the Whitney Museum, where she was given a studio, and had weekly critiques by respected artists of the time. She ended up staying in NYC and had her first solo show at Sensory Evolution Gallery, as one of the artists from the East Village Art Movement.
Leslie Lew lives and works near Peekskill, NY. She has been a professor at the College of New Rochelle, and was selected for the Westchester Bienniel 2006, and 2008. She received a grant for a children's book she wrote and illustrated called, "Buki's Garden". Her work has been included in art book publications, "Encyclopedia of Living Artists in America", "East Village: A Guide, A Documentary", "East Village 86" "Comic Release- Negotiating Identity for a New Generation, and "The Margulies Collection- at the Warehouse", which will be released in November 2008.
Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Sofia, Bulgaria.