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Featured Artist -Sept-Simone Leal

Artist Statement

I am an extremely curious visual artist.  Photography has been my preferred medium because it affords total freedom and continuous exploration.  My conceptual photography is a hybrid of precise protraiture and street photography.  I blend decisive moment with accidental one.  Street can be found in the kitchen or the living room.  By stretching the concepts of moment and space in a photographic image, this approach allows a trans historical artistic dialogue to occur.

Artist's Biography

Simone had three things in mind: she wanted to know English; she wanted to become an American citizen; she needed to evolve.  Not grow old, but evolve.  She first became a Molecular Biologist and had dreams of cloning herself and living multiple lives simultaneously.  She studied under the supervision of pivotal Molecular Biologists, first in Brazil where she was born, then Brussels, Belgium and at Rockefeller University in New York.  During her years in science laboratories, she had the opportunity of traveling to many wonderful cities and visited numerous art museums and galleries.  Art and art scenes always fascinated her.

Since her formal education had plenty of Philosophy classes, her transition from an academics setting to an Art studio was gradual and natural.  She attended several courses and workshops at the epicenter of Photographic Arts: The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. There she learned how to photograph under any weather or circumstance.  She also learned the ins and outs of cameras and pure analog photography.  She loved developing films and printing her and her colleagues' images.  At ICP, she discovered the thrill and magic of dodging and burning.  During her time in New York, she became aware of Vik Muniz's and Cindy Sherman's works and they became major influences in her photographic practice.

After moving to Tampa Bay, she dedicated herself to volunteerism, became a docent at the Tampa Museum of Art and at the Florida Museum of  Photographic Arts.  In 2020, she became an Ambassador at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota.  She joined Las Damas de Arte (LDDA) and is grateful to her sponsors, the incomparable Barbara Kazanis and the late "Photographer in Chief" of LDDA Suzanne Camp Crosby.  This is the time Simone turned her energies to art making. The LDDA organization supported her in this process. Each new LDDA encounter was a source of information not only about the Arts in the Tampa Bay Area, but about the people in the Arts, students, professors, grants, and most importantly Art in general. She learned how to make art, appreciate art, teach art, market art and sell art.  This learning allowed her to realize a life long dream of designing her own house and art space in addition to migrating to almost an entirely digital studio.  Simone wants to extend her heartfelt "thanks" to LDDA for helping her understand the difference between "termite" art and high art.  One does not exist without the other.

Simone co-chaired #SITA2021 with our current President Pat Fenda.  She really enjoyed assisting Patt Fosnaught in curating the show which was a tremendous success. Members of LDDA: Maggie Newman, Joan Burpee, Jan Schwartz, Carol Gaynor and Judi Kelly were instrumental in the event's success.  Simone wants to extend a special thanks to her mentor for all some,,,to Judi Kelly. Simone believes her  honorary MAA (Masters in Art Administration) was earned through the chairing of SITA#2021.  Now that she is seasoned, she will also chair #SITA2022,  Simone considers all the wonderful LDDA artists as her forever influencers.

Tap on the link below to view Simone's photographic art.  You may also visit her website at She would be delighted to hear from you.

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