Boots & Pine


Leah Goren in Bushwick

Where did you grow up?
Carlsbad, California, a beach town 30 miles north of San Diego

What brought you to New York?
After living in San Diego and Los Angeles after high school I moved out here to finish school. At the time it just seemed like the logical next step and the next big adventure.

What do you do for a living?
I’m an illustrator and surface pattern designer – I paint pictures and patterns for a living! I work freelance for clients and on my own products and projects to supplement that.
How did you get started?
My mom is an artist of many things, and I grew up making things with her and knowing it was something I could do forever; no one around was telling me I had to be a doctor or lawyer. When I was 16 I attended the California College of the Arts Pre-College program and felt right at home in that community in a way I never felt in high school. I knew then I had to go to art school, and it was just a matter of figuring out where I wanted to go with it. After taking classes in many areas – drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, sewing – I fell into the Illustration department and I’m still here.

What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
Bushwick is next door to Williamsburg, but it’s not nearly as trendy or built-up yet. I love how small it still is here, and how that brings the people who live here closer together. There aren’t too many places to go, so I run into people I know everywhere!

What’s the last treasure you found?
A pretty little handmade planter by Shino Takeda, a ceramicist who works in Brooklyn, NY. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by plants, and it’s the perfect home in my studio for a succulent friend.
If you were going to eat your last meal in New York, where and what would you eat?
Cafe Ghia, a cafe and bar a block from my house in Bushwick. I go there all the time and I’ve eaten everything on their menu many, many times, but it would be the perfect place to say goodbye to New York. I’d order something extravagant that I don’t eat much, like the steak.

If you could have a sleepover with anyone who has ever existed, who would it be?
Niki de Saint Phalle. I think we’d be friends.

If your life was a TV show, what would be the theme song?
A Taylor Swift/Drake duet they’d write just for the show.

What does New York need that it doesn’t have now?
Good taco shops! I have to fly home a couple times a year just for fish tacos and veggie burritos.

See Leah’s work at her website Shop on her Etsy. Follow her blog.

© 2012 Arden Wray