Leigh Banks is an established artist with an art career spanning over 25 years and has exhibited in New York, London and Cape Town.
For nearly two decades, she has undertaken corporate art commissions, in particular for the cruise industry – her artwork features in the permanent collections of over 20 ships for several cruise lines, primarily Royal Caribbean International.
This work has demanded versatility in both subject and style to create bespoke artwork that meets the technical requirements for public spaces onboard as well as fulfilling the vision of architects and interior designers.
Sometimes these commissions have influenced her paintings, but increasingly her subject matter has become focused on wildlife and animals.
Banks believes this has roots in her childhood in Africa at a time when there was an abundance of wildlife and her best memories are of time spent on farmland where her grandparents lived. Now that so many iconic species are becoming endangered and populations of wildlife are in decline, she realises what a privilege that was.
She was also obsessed with horses as a child (one of her very first paintings was of Black Beauty galloping across a field against an African orange and purple sunset sky) and now resides on Epsom Downs where racehorses are part of her daily environment.
Banks loves to capture the essence of an animal in her artwork in a tactile, painterly way that engages the viewer in the features, character and beauty of the subject. She often first paints the canvas in a colour that then forms the background but also lets it show through the painting as she builds it up and brings it to life, sometimes incorporating gold leaf which adds interest and texture.