Delaware artist driving art forward [video]

A Newark artist finds inspiration in many forms, even her car.  If you pass her on the road you’ll look twice in your rear view mirror.

Dragonfly Art Studios is an interesting place to visit. First, there is art and art supplies everywhere. From the walls to the windows, the living room… everywhere. It’s truly a space that inspires creativity.

At first glance you may think it’s a bit disheveled, not so according to Dragonfly Leathrum. Yes, Dragonfly is her legal name. “To other people it may look cluttered, but it’s very organized. It’s my happy space,” she said.

As an artist, Dragonfly works in many mediums. From painting, portraits, cartoons, stained glass. Almost everything. “The only thing I don’t do right now is clay. I don’t like the way it dries on your hands. It kind of gives me the willies,” she said.

The art car

Most of us who drive to work everyday don’t think twice about the color of our car after we buy it.  Red, blue, silver? Dragonfly got tired of the boring colors and ‘sameness’ of all the cars on the road, so she did something about it. “I get bored driving, I wanted to add a little color to the commute.”

Using the car as a canvas, she paints everything from a social commentary on the loss of honeybees to R2-D2 from “Star Wars” and all pop reference points in between.

My personal favorite, aside from my favorite astromech droid (that would be R2-D2, to the non-geek crowd) are the Paul Simon song lyrics and Hong Kong Phooey. A cartoon dog that during the day is a janitor, but fights crime by night, Google it, you won’t be disappointed.

While you might think it would be hard actually getting around in this car, just from the standpoint of people gawking, it’s old hat for Dragonfly. “Sometimes I forget I’m driving in a painted car and I’m like why are people staring at me, why can’t I change lanes? It’s fun, it makes the day better.”

Work for a cause

When we visited Dragonfly’s studio she was working on awards for Special Olympics of Delaware. The winners get stained glass trophies she makes in the studio.

She also makes awards for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. An annual event where individuals raise donations benefiting the Special Olympics.  

Dragonfly also teaches classes at her studio. You can find out more about her work or classes by visiting dragonflyartstudios.com.  

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This story will also air on First, Friday November 21st at 5:30 and 11pm.  You can watch First online at whyy.org/first.

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