Profile - Heather Leigh Young

Welcome to Savannah, America's Most Beautiful City

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories abound of people from other places, even other countries, who come to Savannah and find their place in the sun, the place to help their dreams come true. Just as many tales proliferate of native Savannahians who roam far from home to find their niche, returning triumphant only after they've achieved success in another place.

 

 

But Heather Leigh Young is finding her niche and her dreams right here in her hometown of Savannah. And Young is the quintessential Savannah local, with great-grandparents, Elizabeth and George John Leon, Jr., who were born and raised in the Historic District, and an extensive, extended local family, some of whom can be traced back to the 1700's.

Right now, her delicate pen and ink drawings of Savannah's beautiful fountains grace hundreds of cards flying off the shelves of downtown greeting card purveyors, and her murals are popping up around the city and out to Tybee Island. Several more murals are commissioned, and she has a contract to illustrate a book waiting for her. She recently established her own website, www.flyoungstudio.com.


Mural - Amelia Island
Corporate Logo

"My first real interest in art came in the seventh grade," she says. Young's family had moved around a lot because of her father, Alan Young's, work in the paper industry, and in new schools, new towns, unfamiliar places and schools, "I often felt lonely because I didn't know anybody," she says now. So with typical self-reliance, she thought, "Well, I'll start doing something new.

"That was in Virginia, in the seventh grade, and I began doing watercolors. My parents noticed I had a knack for it, so they got me into some watercolor classes -- with people three times my age!"

By the tenth grade, she was knew she was an artist. With the determination that still characterizes this young woman, she went into her parent's room and sat on their bed and said, "I want to go to SCAD and I want to be an artist." For the next two years, she says, "my dad tried to deter me, or at least to get me to look at other options, but I knew that was what I wanted." The rest is history.

Between her junior and senior years of high school, Young was accepted into SCAD's Rising Star program, and then went on to finish high school early and entered SCAD on a portfolio scholarship. She graduated magna cum laude.

The art world, the art community, often pushes young artists to paint a variety of subjects to insure that something they do will appeal to everyone, but Young feels differently. "If you do what you do best, what you feel the most, your work will find its audience."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She focuses strongly on women in her art. "I took some classes on Women in Literature and Women in Art History, and that triggered it all. I think that you have to paint what you know and what you feel. The passion comes out best that way. I know a lot of women and I know how they feel and react."

"I have a lot of stories I can tell about the women in my life and I use that material".

 

She has painted portraits of many locals in Savannah as well as pen and ink sketches of homes for prominent homeowners.

The damage was total. She spent her days, her tendril, sap-green days, walking up and down, up and down, her head jerking to the beat of a drummer so distant only she could hear. Elbows bent, hands on shoulders, she flailed her arms like a bird in an eternal, grotesquely futile effort to fly. Beating the air, a winged but grounded bird, intent on the blue void it could not reach--could not even see--but which filled the valleys of the mind."
-- The Bluest Eye,
by Toni Morrison

Currently at work on a series in her inimitable, fine style and technique, on Women and Nature, Young has already painted many fine works of art inspired by women in literature.

Another inspiration has been the work of Mary Cassat, "the only woman Impressionist. Her work speaks stories to me. She would paint women reading newspapers when very few women even read newspapers."

A passionate nature lover,Young's favorite relaxation is walking on the beach. "The sea, the sand, the sun, and everything about them, inspires me. Just seeing a jelly fish can spark off ideas for my Women and Nature series." And she enjoys music, particularly Classic Rock and New Age.

Go Away

With the carriage and grace of a ballerina and the cool and remote look of a Vogue cover model, Heather Young appears, at first meeting, like a pampered ice princess. It takes a while to realize that the ballerina carriage derives from a steely spine that brooks no interference in her dedication to her field, and the fashion model demeanor stems simply from her own impeccable sense of design and color and style. The cool and distant gaze belies the fiery, brooding passion that emanates from her work.

 

"There's a good chance this woman could become to art in Savannah what Flannery O'Connor is to literature in Savannah," says one admirer.


Wide Sargasso Sea
reproductions © Heather Leigh Young, 2004
used with permission from the artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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