Ilan Leas was born and raised in New York and received a BS from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. His mother was an art teacher and Leas exhibited creativity from an early age. His style, which has been described as “complex,” emerged in middle school after watching a TV special about crop circles. After that, Leas began drawing intricate designs that incorporated events from his daily life.
The artist devoted his time after graduating from university to building a successful event ticket brokerage. Needing to relax, he began drawing again and reignited his passion for visual arts. At the heart of his practice is experimentation and overcoming the feeling of failure. Though he began with pen and ink drawings, he has evolved to exploring other media such as painting on unconventional surfaces.
He uses graffiti-like strokes and harsh angles to create the organized chaos of each drawing. Leas’s current work relies on his subconscious and he does not plan any of his drawings beforehand. He allows the lines to flow freely to create a dynamic space. He considers his technique “patternmaking without a pattern.” In 2016 he was commissioned to create artwork for the Coachella Valley Music Festival’s project “TRASHed” by Global Inheritance in which artists were to paint 65-gallonrecycling bins scattered throughout the festival grounds. Leas has also created custom artwork for Sweetgreen’s NYC and Chicago locations and collaborated with Jason Wu and Fila China on a Fall 2018 clothing collection.