Lea Wells, Sweet Not Saccharine
Words like ‘whimsical, universal and tender’ come to mind when peering into the illustrations and paintings of designer Lea Wells. Her work is touchingly simple, soft and innocent. Wells captures sublime emotions that get right to the heart of our inner child with an imaginative, adventurous and hopeful feel. Hers are the images you would give to someone who is in need of a reminder that – while we are small – we are grand and never truly alone. For me, they are something to remind me to smile.
She uses her art as a voice for humanitarian and environmental issues. “I’m still trying to create new worlds, like I did when I was a child,” Wells says, “Worlds without injustice.”
Commissions are completed using environmentally safe paints and papers, she explains. Wells stays true to her heart by “doing a lot of art things” such as graphic design, murals, custom furniture, chalk festivals and book jackets to name a few. She says her dream state is what brings most of the images to the conscious level and she taps the mood she is feeling at any given moment as the “what goes into the background” of each piece.
Among others, English book illustrators Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and Tolkien’s Alan Lee (b. 1947) have struck the awe-chord for Wells growing up. She states that, “Nature and the struggle of being human” are often inspiration enough to keep her creativity flowing as her production output can be quite high at times. Wells also credits the local Denver art community for its supporting environment and energetic vibe, especially artists Katie Hoffman, Susan Schmitt, Michael Rieger, Kyle Banister and Robert Baca.