The work of fine art humorist,
Portrait of the Artist as a young dog.
Jeff Leedy is recognized as one of the top fine art humorists in the country. Through hundreds of outdoor art festivals, collectors, numerous gallery accounts and the licensing of his images onto products, he has built a national following. In his book “Are You Laughing At My Art?” he devotes a full page to why he is funny. It reads,
“You see, God gave me this strange set of contact lenses and this is how I see life.”
Some History: One of Leedy’s life goals has been to spread laughter in the world. Because of his fun-loving connection with people who come to enjoy and purchase his work, he and his wife and business partner Elaine, chose self-publishing to maintain that special contact. In 1988 Leedy introduced his now-famed “Demando Cat” at the premier Sausalito Arts Festival. Cat lovers four-deep, screamed, “I must have that print — that’s my cat.”
Since then, Leedy has self-published a myriad of open and ltd. edition prints, including his best-selling signature piece “Counsel Approaching the Bench”, a courtroom scene depicting two shark fins heading towards the judge.
This work has had 6 incarnations and 5 editions have sold out not to mention the originals as well. “I’m having trouble keeping up with all the attorneys they’re turning out,” Leedy quips.
Born in New York at a very early age, Leedy was enrolled by his father at age 12 at the venerable Art Student’s League in New York City. This is where he learned how to draw anything from any angle. After getting his BFA degree at Syracuse University School of Fine Art he was drawn to NYC and San Francisco and spent 15 years in advertising where he was told, “It would be the most fun you could have with your clothes on.” He’s worked at top ad agencies, such as Young & Rubicam, creating TV and print campaigns and picked up a prized Clio and other awards along the way.
Y&R NYC. Art Director 1964 – 1974
HD&B. San Francisco 1974 – 1978 Associate Creative Director
Won a Clio -(Straw Hat Pizza)
Cole & Weber Associate Creative Director 1985 – 1987
Freelance illustration 1978 – 1984
Clients: Straw Hat Pizza, Qantas, Roll, IBM, BofA, Grape Advisory Board
Jeff Leedy Studios ‑Fine Art Humorist 1987-
Exhibited at over 400 art festivals in 23 states
Best in Show Fairhope, AL.
Best in Drawing Sausalito Art Festival
Exhibited at Sausalito Art Festival (#1 show in US) for 17 years straight
Owned & Operated Art That Makes You Laugh© galleries
Sausalito, CA 1998 – 2008 — Mendocino, CA 2003 – 2009
Published: The Check is in The Mail. (1980)
“Are You Laughing At My Art?” Sold out (2004)
“There’s A Person Inside Every Dog” (2016)
“There’s A Person Inside Every Cat”. (2016)
In 1974 he relocated and fell in love with Sausalito’s waterfront charm. He worked at HD+B as associate creative director and then four years later, he became a freelance illustrator specializing in humorous illustration, à la New Yorker. At one point he had 5 art reps across the US.
In 1987 he won a gold medal from the NYC Society of Illustrators show Humor ‘87 out of 3300 worldwide entries. In 1989 he was an invited guest exhibitor to the prestigious House of Humour & Satire in the country that brought us yogurt: Bulgaria. It was the most amazing career experience for him and jet-propelled his career forward. He was becoming international.
Why Art That Makes You Laugh makes you laugh:
People who are funny don’t take classes for that. They are wired that way. Being a humorist and an artist, it was not satisfying to just do cartoons- they’re not very artistic or painterly. And serious painting was OK but to Leedy, it did not allow his other strength, his humor, to come through. And when Leedy broke onto the art scene in 1987, he was a very unique artist who asked on his display banner, “Art You Laughing At My Art?” The public, expecting only serious art to be available at art festivals wandered over, curious. What they saw and how they reacted was history. Leedy has in his own words, “Exposed himself at some of the best art festivals in the country”. The police did not seem to notice.
Jeff and his wife and supportive business partner Elaine opened their first humor gallery called Art That Makes You laugh® in 1996 on the Sausalito waterfront. It became a hugely popular destination for 12 years to tens of thousands of Sausalito visitors. In 2000 they moved their home north to the Mendocino Coast where they opened a second waterfront gallery in the Village of Mendocino, which they held for another 5 years.
Jeff and his wife and bearded collie MeMe now live in Boise, which looks like their final home. Still working, still making people laugh.
“Are you laughing at my art?
Well good. You look like you could use a laugh.*