A self-taught artist, Gordon Leverton's previous occupations - as musician, writer, and entrepreneur - have helped form the direction of his painting practice that places urban landscape and architectural design at the forefront.
During his time as a stay-at-home father between occupations, Leverton took daily walks through Hamilton’s streets and alleys and became fascinated by the inner networks and webs of the city. A latent love of art and design soon emerged and with it, his inspiration to capture those emotions on canvas. Leverton’s portrayal of the city’s architectural elements rendered with flattened perspective, bright colours, and strong play of light and shadow has become his signature style. As he further describes his working process:
“I break down the city into component parts. Shadows, buildings and skylines all become part of the same plane and transform into pieces of a puzzle. Using acrylic paint, I explore a theme common to the urban experience - how community connects us all.”
Leverton is a member of several guilds and artist groups including Hamilton Artists Inc. and Hamilton Arts Council, as well as an elected member of The Society of Canadian Artists. He currently sits on the McMaster Children’s Hospital art advisory committee and is a founding member of the West Hamilton Artists Tour. In 2022 Leverton has launched a new project called Social Space – pop up group art shows – featuring emerging and established artists, His work has appeared in numerous publications, broadcasts and journals and is widely held in private collections Canada, the United States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia and Europe. Gordon Leverton makes his home in Hamilton, ON. with his wife Nancy and two children.
How has your relationship with art changed over time?
When I started in my career, I would purposefully look for inspiration. The biggest change over time was letting inspiration find me instead. I learned to be open and receptive without realizing it, and I suppose that’s what being an “artist” is all about.
Where do you find inspiration? What drives your work?
I’m inspired by my environment, specifically the urban landscape and how it connects us all without devolving into utter chaos. There’s an unspoken civility, an orderliness that I strive to achieve in my paintings. Whether that civility is unraveling is a matter of debate, but I think it’s an interesting topic.
What is your favorite part of your process?
Well, I certainly love to paint edges! My paintings are pretty structured and pre-designed, so my process follows a similar story. Initially I will draw the composition on the canvas, then block in color loosely with paint, and finally tighten everything up. The blocking stage is the point where I can ad-lib the most — using different underpaintings for example — and is the quickest point of the process, so I would say I enjoy that the most.
What is one thing about your art and/or practice that our audience may not know?
By far the number one question people ask is if I use tape to achieve my edges, and the answer is no. Over the years I’ve gotten proficient at painting edges so it’s just much quicker to do it by hand. Additionally, my edge work is more fluid than would appear in a photograph. There’s a lot of “lost and found” edges that reveal the underpainting or even the raw canvas. When you see the works in person it’s much more noticeable.
What does your dream piece/project look like?
I guess that would be painting a legacy piece somewhere my family, friends, and collectors could see and enjoy after I pass on. Not a mural but maybe a large-sized commission. I’ve also been traveling more with my family since things have opened up since the pandemic, and I’m curious to see how that will inform my next progression.