NYC-based artist Khara Ledonne paints magical, miniature worlds that double as works of wearable art. Ironically, she started out by painting huge murals when she was only 16 years old and living in Washington state. She then transitioned over to sign painting when she moved to New York City in 2005. By chance, Ledonne came across a few vintage lockets while exploring a metal shop, bought them, and began to experiment. This happy accident opened up a whole new world for the artist, one that led her to launch an Etsy shop filled with lockets that charmingly reveal small-scale paintings.
To produce her pocket-sized works of art, Ledonne does everything by hand. She sources all the hardware and then oxidizes these pieces so the metal's color fits the theme of her painting. Using an X-Acto knife, she trims her brushes so she can paint her diminutive subjects. Remarkably, the artist does all of this without a magnifying glass (because they make her dizzy). Overall, it takes Ledonne about a week to make each piece—mainly because she must allow the paint to dry between layers.
"I’ve always been drawn to tiny spaces and the prospect of adventure. Moving so often, I carve out a small colorful nest for myself, whether I’m in a tent in Vermont or on a caravan in Italy," reveals Ledonne. "Living in NYC can be an urban struggle, which often inspires me to paint the places where I long to travel. Real life hollers constantly: emails pile up, the Internet is fickle, and sales drop when I least expect it. Through it all, I think of the lockets as tiny escape portals—an opportunity to check in on my secret spirit animal, or have a peek at the hidden sailing adventure hanging around my neck. Adults need daydreams too, I say!"
Ledonne's friend Sam Friedman took the time to film a video about the artist and her process. Scroll down to watch their mini movie.