We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Shapiro Joyal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I’m inspired by innovation. I love to see people steadfastly sticking to their vision – whatever it is. I like tenacity and passion, and I love watching people that are bold enough to express themselves, even when it goes against social trends. I’m also often more excited by the process of creating art than the art itself. Show me someone getting dirty on the potters wheel, or in tattered rehearsal clothes in a dance studio. That’s where you see and feel the humanity behind the experience. I’m inspired by great music, and poetry, and the beauty of writing. The reality is that inspiration can come from anywhere at any time, and often it comes unexpectedly. Those are moments we need to get still and pay attention to the gift we’re being given. When we take a little time to reflect on something that gives us a moment of visual or emotional pleasure, it can grow into a brand new piece of art for others to enjoy with us.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My heart lead me to start a furniture business after several years of working in architecture and interior design. A small venue opened and I used it to show clients and people how I am able to use the information they provide to create a piece they will love for a lifetime. I work mostly in solid wood, and celebrate designs that are minimal yet strong. My purpose is to highlight the understated beauty of good work, focusing on craftsmanship and details that avoid trend or fad. It was never easy, but it was always the right path for me. I’m tenacious and optimistic. I’ve owned this studio for over 20 years, and I’m proud that I persisted when things got difficult. My husband has joined the business after a career in fashion, and together we’re able to bring our varied skill sets to provide a connective experience for the client. When the client and studio come together to collaboratively create pieces, the outcome is more than furniture. It’s a tangible expression of connectivity and art.
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?
I’d go to Hollywood Reservoir for an afternoon stroll, Watts Towers for artistic inspiration, El Coyote for a fun lunch and margarita, Venice beach to shoot pool at The Brigg for a little local color, a drive through Silverlake and Hollywood Hills for a look at wonderful architecture, Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip for a cocktail, and last but not least, the Broad and MOCA for a downtown LA experience and museum visit.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This shoutout goes unequivocally to my husband Simon. Through dark times and light, he has steadfastly been there for me. He has helped from the beginning, when the fist glimpse of inspiration required that we take a dingy studio on Fairfax and transform it into a light filled, tranquil backdrop for the furniture designs. He has never wavered in his support of my vision, and has worn many hats over the years in his dedication to both me and the business. My father and uncle were also incredible inspirations. Their words of wisdom and love for what I was doing filled me with the confidence to take a road less traveled. I was allowed to go in the direction of my dreams without an ounce of pushback from family. These 3 men remain my heroes in life.
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separate file: Image of Leslie in blue chair: Manolo Langis Images 1-3: Yoshihiro Makino Image 4: Benny Chan Images 5-7: shapiro joyal studio