Jeffrey Leder has lived in New York City and Puerto Rico, taught at New York University, beat cancer, lived through the events and aftermath of the 9/11 attacks from only a few blocks away, and owned his own advertising firm, among other things.

Through the many challenges and triumphs in his life, he says he has always found peace through his art.

Art has played a role in Leder’s life for most of his 72 years. In his 20s he was an exhibiting artist, until he went back to school to pursue his master’s degree in visual communications. After doing so, he worked for CBS for a number of years and eventually opened his own marketing firm in New York City, which drew on his creative nature and business savvy. This was Leder’s calling for about 35 years; at the company’s peak, he employed over 30 people. The period still plays an incredibly important role in the way that he says he views the intersection of art and business.

Leder lived and worked only a few blocks away from the World Trade Center, and he says the events of 9/11 greatly affected him physically at the time, and mentally for years to follow. He went on to open a gallery in New York that featured the work of other artists, and found himself being drawn back into the world of fine art.

After what he describes as a difficult childhood, Leder says he was angry and unhappy with the world.

“I have done a lot of studying and work on myself over the past 35 years,” he said. “I had a difficult childhood and I was angry about it and needed to move forward. That anger propelled me to be very successful but also held me back personally. I was sarcastic and difficult to be with; there was a time when I don’t know why anyone would put up with me, but thankfully some people did.

“Now there is a peacefulness in me that is conveyed through my work,” Leder says. “Color is essential in my work. I start with sketches, and I try to let it be subconscious and not think about it too much. I then start with one color. I don’t think of the color scale or anything, I just look around and look at what I think would be nice together.”

His process is as complex as it is simple and straightforward. Leder uses his unique eye for fine art as well as design to create his colorful, geometric pieces.

When Leder decided to move to Greenville, the art scene in the West Village was one of the first things he experienced, through the Metropolitan Art Council’s First Friday series. After being in Greenville for two years, he says he looks forward to participating in an event that opens a dialogue.

“My greatest interest is engaging with people who come to my studio,” Leder says, “and walking through the process of how I work and getting to communicate with them so that they can understand what I’m about and how that is conveyed in my artwork.

“My artwork is about myself finding a level of peace that I never had before. I try to flow with life and not be so judgmental of myself and others; I try to flow rather than to fight life. And I want my art to express that.”


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