Tell us a bit about Leosaysays…
He started as a character created by me and my brother, Joe. I was experimenting with video during my art degree and became fascinated by Dadaism, Discordianism and seventies DIY video art. We found a creepy party lion mask and decided to make videos. It developed personality, a benign agent of chaos. I was reading a book on medieval demonology and came across the demon “Bulfas”, depicted as a lion-headed anthropoid; a spirit of discord, but a sense of truth and justice. I thought I’d created Leosaysays, but he was creating me.
What projects have you most enjoyed working on?
This one, of course. I have also been creating folklore documentaries; most recently the history of cats in European mythology which can be found on my YouTube channel.
Can you tell us about your work as a psychotherapist?
I recently left the University of Nottingham Counselling Service to focus on my independent psychotherapy practice and art. A lot of my artwork is about rendering the unconscious process by using symbolism and abstraction. I desire to socialise and share ideas, but the reality feels exhausting and anxiety-provoking. Never assume that psychotherapists don’t have issues. Everyone has shit going on.
How does your interest in the occult inform your artwork and influence your daily life?
It’s complicated. I basically see it as a different lens in which to view the world, humanity and “self”. It’s a process rather than anything definitive. It’s about simultaneously understanding our limitations and the power everyone has.
Can you tell us your best memory of trees?
I grew up in Top Valley. There was a tree on the junior school field I used to climb. I felt safe up there, but now I realise that I would have injured myself if I fell.
If we were to enter a portal that brought us into the land of your artwork for this issue, what else would we find there?
Clean air, fresh water, Fothergill architecture hidden among the leaves, no people. There’s a video game called The Witness, where the player explores a desolate island. You encounter grand human-made monuments within nature, but never actual people. That’s how I envision it.
What plans do you have for the future?
Eventually I’d like to publish a book, pulling together a lot of the themes I’ve mentioned. I’m also developing a video game; it’s a 2D platformer in the style of Super Metroid.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to LeftLion readers?
As wanky as it sounds, I think we’re all artists. We understand reality through experience and circumstance; expressing it via language, movement, music and drawing. Don’t feel limited by technical skill. Express yourself, no matter how abstract or bizarre. Mental-health wise, we all suffer for individual reasons. When you’re ready, communicate it to someone. Don’t bottle pain up; it’s not worth it. You deserve to be heard.