Stellar Leuna is a Sydney based artist whose monochromatic style of illustration covers fascinating subject matter such as possession, femmes fatales and witches (to name a few) – creating works which are indeed out of this world.
How did your passion for illustration first surface?
I think it was probably when I was in year 8 or 9 when I discovered a bunch of low brow artists like Tara Mcpherson and Alex Pardee because until that point I had never really known any artists who were young and into cool counter-culture stuff. I find illustration very adaptable to today’s society as well because there is that ease of making stuff that people can easily buy or wear on their bodies.
What influenced your choice of pseudonym as Stellar Leuna? Was this intended for a degree of anonymity? Or other reasons?
It kinda originated from a username I used on various social media platforms and when I started posting my drawings on the internet people would just refer to me as Stellar Leuna, so I went with it haha. I think it does help me achieve a small degree of anonymity too though. My real name is actually Stella without the ‘r’, so there isn’t a huge difference really beside the way that it’s spelt so I don’t feel a total disconnect with the pseudonym either.
Your work reveals a fascination with the occult. When and how did this develop for you?
I’ve just always loved horror. There is a lot of mystery behind the occult and the possibilities of magic existing in our world always fascinated me as well. There is a lot of history behind the occult and how it has influenced society and culture throughout time and there is always so much to explore as it exists across many cultures. At the moment I haven’t really delved into any other cultures occult practices besides western culture as it is the easiest to research, but I do know a bit about Chinese occultism, especially relating to vampire folklore and the underworld, which I find extremely fascinating.
Could you tell us about some of your other influences?
I love a lot of the Romanticists and Pre-Raphaelite painters and frequently look at art from these movements as inspiration. Sometimes I even make quite obvious references to paintings that I love as well. Besides horror and fine art I also love indie comics so that’s where my style originated from. I learnt to ink through looking at my favourite comics.
Does music play a role?
In a big way, it does. I love 90’s grunge and metal so sometimes I draw something that I feel would represent how I feel when I listen to those bands.
Could you talk us through your creative process? Do you use the same mediums constantly, or are you intentionally experimental in your approach?
I am a creature of habit and I am guilty of always using the same medium which is a brush and ink. I really love painting this way though so I don’t really feel a need to change something that works. I do want to learn how to oil paint though and this is definitely something I will learn to do in the near future.
At what point did you make the decision to be an artist?
I think I decided right towards the end of uni that I wanted to do illustration for a living. It was hard coming to the decision to do something that was unpredictable in terms of stability but like many things in life I think, it’s more important to give it a go and fail than to not try at all out of fear that it won’t work out. So far it’s been great.
What inspires you to get creative, is it a state you naturally sink into, a discipline, or both?
It’s a little bit of both. I think it’s good to have a healthy balance of consciously finding inspiration for drawings and having the self-discipline to make sure that I draw every day, and am doing so to learn a new skill or to learn how to draw things that I don’t usually draw. Usually, experimentation inspires new ideas for me too.
Are you working on projects at the moment?
Nothing I can really talk about yet, as it’s very early on in the process.
Do you have a standout project or work that was particularly rewarding in hindsight?
I always find murals the most rewarding for personal growth, or anything I do that it is out of my comfort zone. I love murals because I can bring something I drew on my desk into the real world and at a huge scale that many people can enjoy. But I also loved collaborating with my friend Dakota Gordon on our exhibition together last year, because that also involved going out into the world and finding locations and models to help us bring our ideas to life. As challenging as it got, I really appreciate it in hindsight. Art is such a personal thing that I do when I am by myself so being able to go out into the world to do it is really fun.