We had the good fortune of connecting with Hannah Leonard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hannah, so before we jump into specifics about your story and work, let’s start higher level. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The most important lesson I’ve learned along my journey is that you get as much out of something as you choose to put into it. This is something that I once heard one of my favorite artists say, Dimitria Milan, who I look up to greatly. This can be applied to art, business, love, school, and life in general. If you put nothing into it you will hardly ever get anything out of it. When you apply yourself and put everything you have into something you are passionate about, the results are mind-blowing. We as humans have the ability to create, our imagination and will-power has so much potential. When you apply both towards a task the limit is the sky.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My name is Hannah Leonard, I grew up in the beautiful state of Arizona, and I am an artist. I’ve spent most of my life fighting my creative urges, from doodling on lawn chairs to painting on the walls of my bedroom. A few years ago I was encouraged to explore my talent. I took quite a few classes at a family owned art institute and later studied under a former Disney animation artist. I put my heart and soul into learning different techniques, experimenting with different mediums, and finding my individual artistic voice. I found myself dabbling in photography and graphic designing quite a bit too and started incorporating them into my work. I was selling pieces, attending art shows, shipping across the country, and building my business. I had established a website, business cards, was prepared to start showing in galleries, and was getting my name out there. I had always had a niche for business management, the job I had worked through high school was at a family owned bakery and I fell in love with the logistics and passion that went into it all. I decided I wanted a degree in business and started planning for that. I took some classes at Central Arizona College, a community college in Pinal County to get some of the basic courses out of the way and soon realized how expensive this degree was going to be. I decided that I did not want to take out any loans and wanted my end goal to have my business be my main source of income. I knew this might take a while especially since I was so set on this degree. A friend I had met during my classes at CAC informed me he had joined the Army, he wanted to work in the music industry but wanted a degree first and came to the same realization I had with the finances it would take to get there. I was intrigued by the thought of being able to serve my country and also finish my degree so I reached out to a recruiter. After lots of thought, prayer, and research I found myself on my way to Basic Combat Training a few months later. In July of 2019 I started my Army career. Since then I have made amazing friends, learned an insane amount, found out a lot about myself, met my soulmate, and finished my training. Now that I am getting settled in at my first duty station, Fort Riley, I can pick up on my degree online and continue creating the art that speaks to me so truly. My journey is just beginning and I am excited to see how my past year of training has affected my voice as an artist. I have been working on smaller pieces due to circumstance but will soon be able to start picking up where I left. Growing up in Arizona some of my pieces are inspired by the stunning landscape of our Sonoran desert. A lot of my pieces are also inspired by the beauty seen in simpler things, the people that inspire me, and the love of this earth. I encourage you to follow my social media pages and watch as this story continues. Soon, I will be selling work again, open for commissions, and have my website live. This journey has been rough and I have learned so much, and no matter what obstacles stand in the way of your dream, you can only lose if you don’t try.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If you have not already, please go check out Boyce Thompson Arboretum! This by far my favorite place in Arizona. Located just west of Superior, Arizona it is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the state of Arizona. It is home to 5000 different plant species from around the world and has various tours and events that highlight different areas within the Arboretum. Another place near and dear to my heart is the Queen Creek Olive Mill, a gourmet market and restaurant specializing in locally produced olive oil and foods. They offer mill tours and hold events and markets quite often. The dynamic of this place is amazing and its located on the southeast side of Queen Creek. It’s a wonderful place for a meal and to learn more about the small businesses in our area, they often have live music and the view of the sunset from the patio seating is amazing.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate my shoutout to my wonderful John, the support he gives me is endless and I love being able to live this beautiful life beside him.