Leonardo Drew

  • We’re all reaching and I'm not talking about just artists. We are all reaching. As I’m creating, I know that I have the opportunity [to put] whatever I feel or know into the material… And still I’m intrigued. You know, I still want to reach out. I still want to reach. I still want to reach. I still want to reach.1

    In his 30-plus years as an artist, Leonardo Drew’s installations have grown both massive in scale and intricate in detail.  Through his experimentation with materials, the work has become more complex. Starting in 2012, Drew has brought his ingenuity to the Pace Paper studios, in Gowanus, Brooklyn. His encyclopedic knowledge of materials combined with the technical expertise of Master Papermakers Ruth Lingen and Akemi Martin, have allowed him to create work on an intimate scale as well as the largest cast paper pieces ever attempted.


  • "37P" (2015)

    We ended up rewriting; adding new levels to the medium.  The idea of using paper was one thing, but the actual end result seemed to be much, much more.2


  • "67P" (2017)

    Leonardo Drew tests the versatility of the printmaking medium, transforming cotton paper pulp and pigment into an experience beyond the sum of its parts. 

    At Pace Paper, the artist began making molds to cast sculptural work. These editions push the boundaries of their materiality. Drew invites the physicality of the outside world into his prints, creating objects that exist between painting and sculpture. 


  • "56P" (2016)
  • "66P" (2017)

    Drew brings inspiration from his travels to the studio.  There is a push and pull between seeing the world up close and from far above. The artist's cast paper works draw on the earth’s primary elements.  They can resemble aerial views of densely populated cities or natural uninhabited spaces. 


  • Courtesy of Art21 / via YouTube
  • "58P" (2017)

    Cast paper is a substantial medium, important to the artist for its emotional weight. Drew says, “Within each and every one of us there is the weight of our existence. It is where our deepest and most charged moments come from.”4


  • "61P" (2017)
  • "26p" (2014)
  • Leonardo Drew with Master Papermaker Ruth Lingen at Pace Paper, 2012.

    Leonardo walked into Pace Paper asking to do the impossible. We told him, “No we didn’t think it could be done.” Three months later we were doing it. To see lightweight paper structures being coaxed into works of such visual weight and gravity was truly amazing.

    -Master Papermakers Ruth Lingen and Akemi Martin


  • Footnotes

    1. We’re all reaching and I'm not talking about just artists...  1. Investigation. Art21 (October 24, 2014)

    2. We ended up rewriting; adding new levels to the medium...  Leonardo Drew on His New Body of Cast Paper Works. Pace Prints (February 27, 2015)

    3. Within each and every one of us there is the weight of our existence....  Sculptor Leonardo Drew Is an ‘Addict of Art,’ CBS This Morning (November 30, 2019)


    All works of art © Leonardo Drew

    Video interview recorded in 2015 © Pace Editions.

    Art21 segment from Extended Play, Nov. 21, 2014, © Art21, used with permission.

    A generous thank you to Art21 and CBS This Morning.