About the Artist
I have been blessed or cursed (depending upon your point of view) with a wide variety of interests, ranging from science fiction and fantasy to history. I have explored many of these interests over the years in my art, whether by drawing or painting. Often I have combined interests, as demonstrated by my furry (anthropomorphic animal) renditions of famous historical figures such as Lord Nelson.
Leigh Kimmel was born in 1966 in central Illinois. From her earliest childhood she loved to draw, and would often draw additional pictures of her own in the inside covers of the coloring books adults would provide, if she could not obtain blank paper. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how one looks at it), almost nothing of her early work has survived.
Leigh took her first formal art courses in junior high school, and at the time seriously wanted to pursue studies in art. However, during her freshman year in high school, financial problems led to family pressure to set aside those interests in favor of more "practical" (read: money-making) pursuits. While she did concentrate on more traditional academic pursuits for the rest of her high school career, she continued to draw and showed art for several different 4H projects.
Leigh's first round of college studies were in other areas, but she continued to draw, although she tended to regard these drawings as being more in the area of "doodles" rather than serious drawing. Generally these were done on class notes when lectures got boring, or on scratch sheets of paper during tedious meetings. During this time she had her first introduction to computers, although the graphics software packages available at the time were relatively primitive.
Her first, unsuccessful, forray into the working world meant less and less time was available for drawing. However, she did continue to do a little drawing now and then, mostly doodles or sketches of characters from her fiction writing.
In 1994, unable to secure full-time employment in the library field, Leigh returned to college, pursuing advanced studies in history. During her years at Illinois State University, she began attending science fiction conventions and discovered the art shows there. Several fan artists, seeing some of her sketches and doodles, encouraged her to work up some pieces to a presentable level and show them. Her first experiences with art shows were unsuccessful, but she persisted and in 1996 sold her first piece at the Capricon XVI art show.
In 1998, while attending Southern Illinois University and pursuing a doctorate in history, Leigh underwent a major crisis of faith, questioning whether she was wasting her time on pursuits that she could never truly be happy with. She decided to take a year out from her studies and take courses in art at John A. Logan College, the local community college. She enjoyed the work and learned a great deal from her experience. As a result, she took a semester of art coursework at Southern Illinois University in the fall of 1999.
Financial problems led to her decision not to take another semester. However, she plans to continue doing artwork as much as possible. She is currently available to take commissions for drawings and paintings.
- Hours toward an AA in art, John A. Logan college, 1998-1999
- hours toward a PhD in history, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1996-1998
- MA in history, Illinois State University in Normal, May 1996
- MS in library and information science, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 1990
- AB with double major in Russian Language and Literature and Russian and East European Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 1989
- Shows and Exhibits
- Herrinfesta Italiana Art Show, 1999
- John A. Logan College Juried Student Show, 1999
- Illinois Community College Juried Art Exhibition, 1999
- Great Rivers Art Show, 1998
- 1999 People's Art Show, the Douglas School Art Center, Murphysboro, Illinois
- 64th Annual Amateur Spring Art Show, Paducah, Kentucky, 1999
- Various science fiction convention art shows
- Provided art for showing of Cinderella at the Studio Theater Company, Carbondale, Illinois
- Best Fan Art award for "A Purr-Fect Nelson," Capricon XV, 1996
- Best Amateur Black&White Art award for "Where Do I Sign Up?" ConTraption, 1998
Last updated January 11, 2014