We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Metters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, why did you pursue a creative career?
Growing up, I found people difficult to talk to. It was hard for me to make friends or jump into a conversation. This was especially true in elementary school where I would spend most of my recesses sitting in a corner by the water fountain watching the other kids play. No one tried to talk to me, so I did not try to talk to them. I would sit by my fountain and draw stories. Ones about lions or superheroes. I kept them all in the neat little note book with my name on it and I took that note book everywhere. One day though, while I was drawing by the fountain…I forgot to pick my book up. I went back to class and noticed it was not in my bag. My whole LIFE was in that notebook. The next day, there was girl at my spot by the fountain holding my notebook. I did not go up to her right away. I sort of just watched her. But she spotted me and ran up to me and said “Are you Leah? I found your note book! I love the art and stories inside”.
It was on that day that I realized that art helps people connect with one another. She looked at my work and wanted to get to know me because of it. It may be hard to talk to people normally, but if you paint them a picture or tell them a story, they can pull the same emotions and thoughts that you were feeling from it. You connect. Not just with words but through feeling. Art does that. It inspires us, comforts us, and allows us to share our unique experiences and how we see the world with someone else.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Doing art is a tug of war experience. There is so much to learn and so much you feel you have to master. The most important lesson that I learned is to be “my best friend”. As a creative, I use to beat myself up all the time. “This story is awful” or “My art looks wrong”. So many negative thoughts. So much, that I use to cry often. However, after graduating from college, I realized that negative mentality was not going to take me anywhere. That, and it was also making me hate my work. So I decided that I would be my own best friend. No one tells their best friend that they suck or that they should give up on art. They tell them “You did this part very well, so don’t feel so bad. You can do it”.
That’s what lead to my success and helped me improve. “Hey me, great job on the pacing of this story, lets work on the ending a little bit more’. Being too hard on yourself never yields good results. So be kind to yourself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So everyone is obsessed with coffee but I have found a new obsession. BOBA. I have always been a tea person anyway, but since I discovered Boba I can’t go a day without it. Any place that has Boba is my friend. A lot of small places that have it also sell delicious snacks like Takoyaki or Gyoza. Plus they double up as fantastic places to do some life drawing. And anyone who hangs out with me knows I’m going to be sketching my surroundings.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m going to decade this shout to three people. First, Victoria Ying and the Black Lives Matter Schoolism Discord. 2020 was a rough year for BIPOC people, but people like Victoria Ying made it a little easier for black creatives. She helped give out Schoolism Scholarships to over 300 black creatives that year. Together, she and I formed a discord for the artist so we could learn together. It’s such a lovely community. Both Victoria and the discord have been lovely. Every bad day I have is instantly made better by communicating with you all.
The 3rd person I would like to decade this shout out to is my Children’s Book Mentor, Nilah Magruder. She reached out to me in 2020 and now, what was supposed to be a 6 month mentorship has developed into a lovely friendship. I am truly blessed to have her in my life and swear I leave with a smile every time I am done chatting with her.