Functional Sculptures: Interview with Artist Cec LePage

By Meagan J. Meehan |

Sculptor Discusses the Nature of Art and Design

Cec LePage was born in Canada and since the early 1980s, New York City has been her home. In her Bushwick studio she creates artwork that is both decorative and functional. Decorative vases and candle holders rendered in vibrantly-colored Lucite are Cec’s unique and signature approach to the material, yet she also creates sculptural artworks for gallery exhibitions and charity events such as Postcards from the Edge, which is hosted annually by the Visual AIDS charitable organization. Cec has always been driven to express herself visually and gleams inspiration from life. Feelings and emotions—both pleasurable and devastating—inspire her to create mixed-media work which seamlessly combines detailed painting with sculptural elements.

Cec recently discussed her work and career via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in art and which artists are your biggest influences?

Cec LePage (CL): My creative juices started at a very young age. I don’t recall a moment when I wasn’t busy entertaining myself with art supplies or making do with what was in front of me.

One time in particular held significance and resulted as the catalyst to my path. My father turned up one day with a 4×8 foot slate blackboard he acquired from a school renovation and he made it clear that I was to draw on this surface only and not the walls. I was so overcome with joy that the walls of which he spoke were immediately forgotten. I think I was 3 1/2 years old. Artists that have made an impact on me are wide ranging from The Surrealist to Early Christian encaustic portraits done by Anonymous. Too many artists move me to name one in particular. I love art that gives me breath, a painting or sculpture film or dance that pulls me in has an exit for the takeaway.

MM: You moved to New York in the 1980s…how was the art scene back then different from the scene today?

CL: New York in the eighties served up an ocean of opportunities, collaborations. The nightlife was extreme and obscure in the offerings from the creative approach mailed invitations and themes, a lot of themes and it was an affordable decade somehow, we could do it all. Places like Canal Street were chock filled with unusual stores which sparked fashion trends to countless options of material to build with. Canal Street Surplus launched a plethora of possibilities let alone countless carriers.  It was definitely a favorite as on could find anything there in limited amounts and the unique stock was constantly changing. And of course, Canal Street Plastic was my favorite where I had the run of the place, an open credit line and was allowed to use their equipment, which would be unheard of today. It was a time where on a dreary summer night the rain blended with the soothing sound of Saxophone being played from an open window, echoing through the cobblestone streets of SOHO. It was an intense time it was a time of love and melancholy it was a time of great creativity and a time of great loss. AIDS hit the likes of a squall at sea, drowning so many beautiful creative people and scaring our lives. It changed all of us, AIDS changed NYC.

MM: Your studio is in Brooklyn, so how does the borough influence your creativity?

CL: Always being a Manhattan Island girl where art studios became smaller and unaffordable, I found myself in beautiful industrial Bushwick with a view of the Newtown Creek and its constant avian flight, from sea gulls to geese to ducks even the occasional Egret is spotted perching on an old boat bumper. I am happy to report that I really love it here. People take a moment to talk to one another, they are genuinely interested and interesting. I love running into a random pop-up gallery and invited to enter even though it’s not yet open to the public. I love hearing bands rehearsing in a distant warehouse, some of which are extremely impressive. I love hearing a live soulful voice booming vocals from a studio that has me shaking a leg at 10:00 am and moves the elderly man walking behind me to join in, both of us snapping fingers to the beat.

These random moments take me back and fill my heart with joy.

MM: You are a designer of vases and candleholders and more. So, how did you get into design and how closely do you feel art and design are linked?

CL: I don’t think there’s a separation between art and design as the two live side by side simultaneously living in each other’s spheres. Whether sketching out ideas for a painting or sculpture, one is designing the projected possibility of what is to be created. As the old adage goes “What came first the chicken or the egg?” Designing began at the age of 14-15 years old creating cloisonné enamel jewelry starting what one could call commerce. It carried itself to acrylic jewelry the rest is history.

MM: Be honest, out of all of your creations, do you have any particular favorite piece? If so, which one and why?

CL: Insofar as my favorite piece… the last one I made is my favorite.

MM: What would you say has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

CL: One of my big accomplishments is to have always lived on what I love to do. Having a gallery for twenty-five years, using the space as both a lab and social platform. Making a living in the arts can be a rocky road at times but that’s all part of it. The biggest accomplishment is yet to come.

To learn more about artist Cec LePage, follow her via @lepagenewyork and visit her official website:


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