Photo: Landon Wise

Common Threads

Leo Shallat
144 S Howard St, York, PA 17401

“‘Common Threads’ marked my first time participating in a larger mural festival. The entire trip resonated with the vibes of an art-centric summer camp, with a large amount of equally stunning artworks coming to life in close quarters. As with most of my creations, the emphasis lay heavily on the process, and the true meaning of the piece came together only as I neared the end of the mural. 

“Throughout my time painting, interactions with volunteers, neighbors, and fellow artists consistently echoed a similar sentiment: art bears different meanings for different individuals, yet there exist common threads or themes that carry through for everyone. For artists, there’s a shared language of creation; for onlookers, a mutual appreciation for the transformative power of public art on spaces; and for everyone involved in the festival’s orchestration, a collective recognition of the profound community-building potential when multiple artists collaborate on public art pieces, especially over a short span and despite diverse origins.

“My participation in Sprocket this year deepened my gratitude for the privilege of crafting art that bridges me to diverse communities worldwide, and I’ve grown even more enamored with the introspective journey that painting affords.”

The Artist

Leo Shallat

Based in Seattle, WA, Leo Shallat has always been captivated by art, initially through graffiti, and later, typography, calligraphy, and lettering-based art. In 2018, he was honored with a year-long scholarship to study formal European gothic calligraphy under the guidance of renowned calligrapher Paul Antonio Attong. As Leo honed his calligraphic skills, he simultaneously ventured into a spontaneous and fluid artistic style, deconstructing letter forms into abstract compositions that blended his fascination with mark-making, dance, and lyrical expression. His work, rooted in calligraphic techniques, now thrives on the balance of illegibility and accessibility, prompting intuition over literal interpretation. Leo's latest series of brush stroke paintings is a meditative journey, using art as a conduit to engage both himself and the viewer in the present moment.

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