Pop (Art) Fizz Clink with Leigh Nisonson

Leigh Nisonson

Peanut Butter and Jelly. Salt and Pepper. Cake and Ice Cream. Now, Champagne and art. Honestly, I can think of few things better than champagne and art, especially when paired together, which is why when I got the opportunity to sit down with New York artist, Leigh Nisonson, I was ecstatic.

Nisonson, who grew up in New York city  always had an interest in art, one that she pursued, but never considered as a career. After finishing her law degree, she worked successfully at a corporate firm until she decided to give it all up, take a leap of faith, and finally immerse herself in the art world completely.

Champagne pairs well with art, especially pop art– no pun intended.

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Sweet Lemon was thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with the multi-faceted Nisonson about her amazing art work, upcoming projects, and more on her collaboration with Dean and Deluca.

You originally went to law school! How did you switch over to art?

I always studied art growing up and in college, and continued to paint during and after law school. When friends and family started buying pieces from me, I realized that it was something I could possibly do full-time as my career. Initially, it seemed difficult to leave the security of a steady paycheck, but I decided to go for it! I knew there was no plan B, so I knew I had to make it work. The risk was a challenge and a huge motivator to succeed. People thought I was crazy to make the switch. But for me, it was not even a question. It was something I had to do.

What inspires your work the most?

Who have been your biggest supporters?
My parents have always believed in me. They are my inspiration to create the best work possible and to make an impact in whatever I do.

You seem to do a little bit of everything – from painting, to sculpture, to clothing! What’s your favorite medium to work with?
My absolute favorite medium is oil paint, which is what I am trained in. But I always love working with clothing or fabric as my canvas. One day I hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with a dress or handbag designer!

Which piece that you created are you most proud of?
The City of $12M Sharks, a large oil and mixed media painting depicting an aerial view of New York City underwater.

At what moment did you finally feel like you had arrived as an artist?
Hmm, I don’t think that moment has come yet! I have enjoyed some early successes but I hope there are greater ones ahead. I hope that my work is on that upward trajectory!

Who are you trying to reach through your work?
People who appreciate beauty, composition, color, line and spontaneous brushwork

You’ve said that nature inspires a lot of your themes and urban environments. Why New York City?
I grew up in New York City, so I am biased. New York City is the city I know best, but [I] am constantly learning from it, so I find a lot of my inspiration from that.

What are your plans for the future? Can we expect anything fun in the Hamptons or Nantucket again this summer?
Right now I’m working on few large commission paintings for private homes. I love working big, so it is my dream come true to paint canvases for extremely large wall spaces! I really enjoy the scope of this process, so this summer I would love to paint a commission for a private corporate collection, as they tend to have bigger wall space and large workable dimensions. As for the Hamptons and Nantucket, you can expect to see my work in those places again this summer, so stay tuned!

Anything else you’d like to share?
I just launched a business with two friends, called ! It is the first raw, organic and vegan soup cleanse company. The flavors are delicious. We may do a pop-up store in East Hampton this summer if all goes to plan, so look out for us!

So on the D&D collaboration…

Leigh Nisonson 2

Who came up with the idea of the collaboration?
Dean and DeLuca approached me to do the collaboration. They had seen my paintings, and thought my artwork would look amazing on Champagne bottles, as an arty and unique gift for the holiday season.

Why Champagne?
It’s festive and goes with every celebratory occasion. Champagne pairs well with art, especially pop art– no pun intended.

What about the partnership with the Humane Society? Whose idea was that? Does it have special meaning to you?
D&D choose the Humane Society because animal adoption is a very important cause for me and close to my heart. I rescued my dog, Hugo, from an incredible group called, Stray from the Heart. They are a small NYC organization that does great work rescuing animals, placing them in foster and forever homes. They are not national but the work they do is top-notch with every donation going 100% back to the animals. It’s really important that people adopt dogs from shelters. Buying dogs from puppy stores, and even from breeders online, perpetuates the inhumane breeding in puppy mills. It’s a dangerous and cruel business. There are so many incredible dogs waiting for their forever homes in shelters, so I wanted the Champagne bottles to give back to this cause.

What inspired the bottles?
Pop art.

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How do you picture them being served?
Side by side lots of colorful sweets, candy, and mouth watering macaroons or cake, maybe at a wedding, engagement party, birthday or bridal shower. I’m envisioning an Alice in Wonderland type setting, very whimsical and decadent. Plus, the bottles make perfect conversation-starter centerpieces for dinner parties.

 Just for fun…

Drink of choice?
Pinot Noir.

Favorite bloom?

Spring or summer?
Spring because it signifies rebirth. If the notions of possibility and [if] opportunity had a scent, it would smell like Spring air.

Favorite spot in the city?
Tough question. I have so many. The Metropolitan Museum and Lincoln Center are two of my favorite cultural spots. And I especially love the back garden at Pure Food and Wine when it’s warm out.

Dream vacation spot?
I am dying to go to the Amalfi Coast!

A true Lemon Lady, Nisonson’s whimsical art and vibrant personality embody the fun, colorful side of life. We can’t wait to see what’s next from her!

Photos Courtesy of Leigh Nisonson

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