Filipino artist-designer Leeroy New creates work that spans across film, theatre, product design, performance, fashion, public art and sculpture.
Frustrations of growing up in a third world country, pop culture and a love of fantasy and folklore inspire the objects, costumes, and installations he creates.
Leeroy first started off making sculptures but realised that his work could be more powerful if it involved the human body and performance. Whether it’s wearables, installations or structures, most of Leeroy’s work is now shown in public spaces and often includes himself as a performer or collaborations with local artists and communities.
‘Aliens of Manila’ is a great example of this. This desire to take things to the street or other public sites is due to his experience of art as a child; going to a gallery or exhibition just wasn’t part of the culture. He’s passionate about opening up the art world and making it more accessible to everyone.
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‘Aliens of Manila’ is an ongoing project across different cities. Leeroy takes inspiration from each location he visits and creates ‘costumes’ using everyday found materials that are typical of the area he visits. This approach is thanks to his Filipino roots, Leeroy says, “we were not trained to throw away stuff just like that…. I love experimenting with what the world has to offer instead of making from scratch.”
This approach also allows him to get closer to the communities he works with and explore the idea of what feeling like an alien can be like- that sense of unfamiliar surroundings or experiences.