Leo LaBelle

Candadian Surrealist

Leo LaBelle - Title
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About Leo

Showing from the West Coast of British Columbia Canada to the East Coast of the United States in New York, in Europe, South America and the Orient as well. His work can be found in both local and international, private and public collections.


Current News: 2023

Works in progress...

Sculptures I designed and making 2022...


Who are you?

Well, that is an interesting question! I guess I would be call myself an an artist but I also read and study shamanism and spirituality - in fact most of my life has dealt with those things. So maybe it would better if I said I am a spiritual artist. Even though I work in so many styles and mediums, the message or works always reflect the deepest parts of the psychic and spiritual realms.

Among your many awards and accolades, you also won a First Prize Award that you shared with the late, great Jack Shadbolt. Tell me about that."

Well I was quite young and a bit of a crazy rebel back then. I was driven or maybe possesed to express myself and so experimentation and discovery came naturally. It was this energy that just poured out of me and into my works - no fear or boundaries in anything. I guess it was the same abandon and frenzy, controlled frenzy, that compelled the judges to swing the vote that way.

Did you learn your skills through other ways?

Not at all. Like all adventurous artists I studied in my mind and in my garage and at my friends houses and on the streets and in my room. I mean the skills of an artist are one thing but its what is being created that is the most important to me.

What was your basic path to becoming, well, a professional artist?

I completed a Minneapolis School of Art course very early on so I guess you could call that my academics (laughs), but no really, I was painting and drawing day and night - nothing else really. So I suppose it comes down to what you beleive you are and I never even considered myself as anything but. It's like breathing; you just breathe and you just are what you think you are.


You had your own gallery when you first started out. How did that go?

Collectors, fame, money, success, the scene . . . ahhh (smile). Yes, I got some very hands on experience from my owning-operating the Avelles Gallery in Vancouver's south end. I also held many curatorial positions including Art Director for the prestigiuos Bau Xi Gallery in Vancouver, Art Director for the Vancouver Children's Centennial Theater as well as original Assistant Curator and Director for the City of Vancouver's LIP Gallery and Art Program.

Was creativity part of your childhood?

Yes. I could always draw well, but that didn’t stop my parents from tring to have me have a normal life.

Leo has been a very active participant in LIFE.

Nice. Was there a point in your life when you decided to take a big risk to move forward?

Yes. Starting the Avelles gallery was one. Creating the art group TAR was another.

Surrealism Show in North Vancouver
Show in North Vancouver

“I know most of the world doesn’t make it their concern to inquire after the nature of reality… so I don’t take things too seriously or worry about what anyone else thinks. Like so many other artists, I just go about my business creating snapshots of that side of reality for them.”

So do you have any pets or hobbies?

Fer sure! I got me some ferrets and a garden shed.

So what now?

So what now?

Do you work in any special way?

I built some studio's, but in the end I really just work everywhere. In the yard, my kitchen table, living room, bedroom. Anywhere.

Do you feel a responsibility to contribute to something bigger than yourself?

Yes. I believe in a from of karma.

“The importance of art goes far beyond the visual senses. If the artist and the viewer can connect - it becomes a powerful form of aha and awakening of an important memory. A memory that does not have to be related to anything on this physical plane.

Sculpture - Candy Tree
Sculpture - Candy Tree
Leo at work
Leo at work

Are you satisfied creatively?

The answer has got to be no. Isn’t that what you hope? If you can see that there’s more to do and you have more left inside of you to share, then that’s what keeps you going..

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

If I knew the answer to that, there wouldn't be any more reason to explore. Sometimes knowing can be that; a form af ant-exploring. So as much as need some forms of stability - I need to work with the unkown.

If you could give advice to a young artist starting out, what would you say?

Hmmm . . . question everything. Especially what you think and what you think you see or know. Learn to know your 'other' self.

“…So as much as need some forms of stability - I need to work with the unkown…”

My Magic Carpet
My early years

What does a typical day look like for you?

What's a typical day? (laughs)

Any quests to exhibit?

Well I have showed from the West Coast of British Columbia Canada to the East Coast of the United States in New York; Europe, South America and the Orient as well. For me, there is nothing as satisfying as exhibiting my works. So yeah that is always my favorite quest.

Favorite movie or TV show? Books? Music?

I'll have to think on that.

Favorite food?

Unfortunately, I have a thing for eating things with too much sugar. Candy, chocolate, desserts.

screenshot of Paravelinc.com homepage
The other sides.

Among the many awards Leo has won include a First Prize Award( shared with the late Jack Shadbolt)in a juried show at the Burnaby Art Gallery and First Place awarded in the sculpture category in the New York Art Horizons International Art Competition.