The first time I saw Iris Leu perform, I wet myself. I had a lot of coffee to drink that day and her music tugged at my heart like no other live show I've seen. Situated just a few tables away from the stage at Opening Bell (then Standard & Pours), I was struck by the intimacy and the intensity of the performance. Emotions seem to pour over her keyboard and permeate every nook and cranny of any venue she plays, and this night was no exception.
Beyond performing, whether she knows this or not, Iris has consistently been a creative advocate of mine. Appearing at shows unexpectedly, and even early from time to time, she's always willing to support her fellow artist-kinfolk in big D, regardless of the medium. After only a few myspace exchanges and maybe (seriously, maybe) one real-life interaction, Iris entered my heart in a huge way when she drove down to Deep Ellum for one of my first art shows in Dallas.
I was unloading my car in preparation for my first live art show with artlovemagic and out came Iris from her car, offering to help me with a bag of tools. It's not that I expected her not to come, I certainly didn't expect to see her there, early, carrying a cordless drill for me. But that's just the type of selfless, supportive artist she is. Thanks for doing what you do, Iris. You keep my spirits high and my underwear soiled.
Meet Iris Leu
Name: Iris Leu
Additional Website / Blog: myspace.com/irisleu
1. Are you a practicing artist?
I make tunes that allow people to cry, and some that make you wanna dance.
2. What is your primary artistic medium?
Music performance, paper crumpling, and pressing/unpressing buttons on my recording gear.
3. What do you dabble in (artistically)?
4. Where do you live (generally, not creepily)?
5. Aside from your studio, what physical, local space inspires you the most?
I write plenty in the car, with everything/everybody being 30-mins away here in Dallas.
Scenic routes and store fonts really get me going.
Murray Street Coffee has great natural lighting.
6. What is your favorite part of town?
Deep Ellum + Lakewood + Oak Cliff and
the downtowns of each suburb and
indie coffee houses + public libraries.
7. Norm had Cheers. The gang on Saved by the Bell had The Maxx. Where would you be considered a "regular?"
Various locations of Panera Bread -
I'm the cheap customer that always gets a tall iced tea and hogs the wi-fi.
8. What is your (Alcoholic) Beverage of Choice?
I can't metabolize alcohol, boo!
9. What is your (non-alcoholic or alcoholic) beverage of choice?
Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea
10. What would your last supper consist of?
I'm a vegetarian, but my honest response would be, steak, medium well-done.
11. What 3 famous artists (visual artists, actors, directors, writers, musicians etc.), dead or alive, inspire you the most?
I try not to flirt with superlatives, but off the tip of my tongue:
1. John Steinbeck
2. Isaac Mizrahi
3. Hans Zimmer
12. What 3 almost famous people, artists or non-artists, dead or alive inspire you the most?
1. Laura Owens - painter who had a piece at the DMA this past summer.
2. With whomever I'm currently in love.
3. Rogan Gregory - clothing designer who revolves his business around his ethics.
13. Name 3 bands/musicians that you dig immensely:
I've been digging:
2. Kings of Leon
3. Antony and the Johnsons
14. Name 3 movies that you dig immensely:
1. The Orphanage, and anything by Guillermo del Toro, really.
2. Speed Racer, visually stunning.
15. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
16. Do you work a "regular" 9-5 job?
17. How long have you lived where you live now?
About 1 year.
18. At what time of the day do you feel most creative?
19. If you went to College, what was your major?
20. If you went to College, what was your minor?
No minor, but I'll use this space to say I wish I'd taken more electives, ie glass blowing or ceramics or more cello lessons.
21. In a haiku, please describe a memory from your childhood.
If you are one of
Fifty I kicked in the groin,
I am so sorry.
22. Anything else you would like to add?
I want to be as dashing and daring as Andrew. I think he's great and hope it's his year.
23. Are you a Texan?
24. What are 3 things that you love (or miss) about Texas?
1. Lamme's Candy
2. Old friends
3. New friends through old friends.
25. Name 3 authors that you dig immensely:
1. W. Somerset Maugham
2. Marjane Satrapi, I highly recommend "Chicken with Plums."
3. JD Salinger
26. What are 3 questions that you would like answered by the next person who takes this survey?
1. When and why did you decide to become an artist?
2. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
3. What would you like written on your epitaph?
27. Question Submitted by Sally Glass
What is one piece of artwork in existence (any type) over the entire span of time and space that you wish you had created (and why)?
Dvorak's New World Symphony. The melodic lifts take me to such heights no other work has ever shown me. It's my go-to when I can't sleep.
28.Question Submitted by Sally Glass
When in your life do you feel you create the most meaningful art?
I've just now reached a point where I feel I've mastered the formulas that go into songwriting for pop music, which is generally a symmetrical, motif repetitive, very selfless genre. I'm making more asymmetrical, more personal pieces these days, so the best is yet to come. Not sure if I answered this Q correctly. I'm trying to say that the best creative times come when the formulas are conquered and then tossed out the window.
28.Question Submitted by Sally Glass
Do you ever experience "writer's block", and if so, how do you deal with it?
"Writer's Block" usually manifests itself into eating lots of crap food, for me. So, exercise helps put me into a more creative and confident state of mind, which I need to craft tunes. Sorry there isn't a more romantic answer to it!
You can swing by the "Valentine's Day Is..." Art Show and Extravaganza at Dunn Bros. on February 14th to see Iris live and in concert. If you're interested in grabbing some of her music you can do that right HERE or you can head out to Live at Mokah in Deep Ellum on February 26th to celebrate the release of her new CD, Hushaboo.
Next up: Photographer, Dylan Hollingsworth.