Leah Nadeau is a Seattle-based contemporary abstract artist known for her use of geometric compositions, bold color stories, and signature linework. Nadeau’s aesthetic is defined by vibrant color blocking and energetic lines. She creates a unique rhythm between chroma and contrast as she paints, lending every painting an immediate sense of vitality. Her skills for discernment and visual memory have become finely tuned through years of travel, sketching, painting, and ideating, all of which became the foundations for her art career.
She began incorporating industry, architecture, and design into her work as commentary on the societal imagery we consume both consciously and unconsciously. Her post-graduate education in film strengthened her ability to view the world from the outside in. Nadeau’s art is heavily influenced by the German Expressionist Movement in cinema, Rondocubism, and Gothic-style architecture. Her innovative techniques capture the frenetic feel of cityscapes in time gone by, the stasis of aerial landscapes over Europe and the United States, and the essence of the Mid-Century Modern Era.
Nadeau’s work is highly sought after, and is collected by patrons worldwide. She has sold over 300 original paintings directly from her website. She has had four solo shows since 2019 and has been featured in juried exhibitions. Her paintings are on permanent display at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. In 2021, Nadeau was commissioned by the city of Grosse Pointe, Michigan to participate in a public works installation now permanently featured on sidewalks in the heart of the city.
In a world that often favors the predictable, Nadeau strives to be a refreshing reminder of life lived with distinction. You can find her in Washington relaxing with a lavender latte and her rescue dog, Gus.
Over the last half-decade, I’ve worked to establish an easily identifiable style uniting industrial and geometric swaths of color with weighted linework. My art is influenced by architecture, film, and design and it honors the spirit of individualism. This is very personal to me because as a child, I was discouraged from daydreaming, “living” in my head, and drawing in the margins of every paper I needed to use. As it turned out, these skills would prove to be assets and would inform my signature style to this day. My ability to tune out the world around me and move into my active and lively inner world has allowed me to create a thriving art profession. My individuality has always been my greatest strength. My creative process follows this same path of individuality–allowing me to be an agent of what makes life wonderful, instead of an onlooker watching life happen.
I’m best known for my Mid-Century Modern inspired paintings, which incorporate distinctive shapes, color-blocking, and vibrant color combinations reminiscent of the mid-20th century. Color plays an integral role in everything I create. I visualize, mix, and build color schemes throughout my day even when I am not painting. These color palettes bring my artwork to life, and color harmony is one of my core artistic values.
My signature style is best showcased in composition. I sometimes describe my process as “blueprinting” because simple, architectural shapes and paint drips become the starting point, or blueprint, for the composition and linework of my final process. I use color-blocking and weighted lines to capture the viewer’s attention, conscious that I am designing a visual “maze” with every stroke of the brush.
Perhaps the most consistent, quiet influence on my art has been my background as a film student. In graduate school, I was introduced to German Expressionist films such as, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “Metropolis”. The intentional distortion of visual stimuli, high contrast, and the emphasis on what can and cannot be seen became a starting point in my work – identifiable to this day.
I yearn to create work that beckons the viewer back time and time again. I want my paintings to inspire people to embrace their entire selves. My vivid artwork reflects the independence and vibrance of stories meant to be told.
Bachelor of Arts, University of San Francisco (2013)
Master of Arts, Aberystwyth University (2015)
Photos taken by Olivia McKay