Multi-disciplinary artist Leslie Hidalgo is our inaugural 2023 Veteran Artist Spotlight.

We are starting off our brand new year of CBAW Veteran Artist Spotlights with the amazing Leslie Hidalgo! Leslie is a 16 year Veteran of the United States Air Force, currently residing in San Antonio, Texas with her service dog, Coyote Anne. Leslie is a former linguist, who is now pursuing her Bachelor’s of Arts degree at the University of Texas in San Antonio. She is a multi-disciplinary artist, but her primary area of interest is sculpture. Her artwork combines whimsical elements with undertones of heavier subjects like PTSD, mental health challenges, and the issues faced by many veterans. We are proud to bring you some samples of Leslie’s incredible work, along with a Q&A on her journey as an artist and her creative process.

Leslie Hidalgo - Self Portrait

Self Portrait (2022)

CBAW: What medium (or form) did you start with and how has it evolved over the years?

Leslie Hidalgo: “I started drawing with charcoal and graphite, but over the years have moved to creating more 3 dimensional work. Currently, I am exploring hand building with different clay bodies.”

CBAW: Why have you gravitated toward each medium?

LH: “I enjoy textures and creating more dimensional art. I want to create visually appealing work that also requires the viewer to explore different layers within one piece. It is also very therapeutic to use my hands and build up specific elements.”

Leslie Hidalgo - Ceramic01
Leslie Hidalgo - Ceramic02

Hay Comida en La Casa -2 of 7- (2022)

CBAW: What medium or imagery is most exciting for you right now?

LH: “Currently, ceramic work drives my creative passion. As far as imagery, I tend to add whimsical and nostalgic notes to my art.”

CBAW: What is your favorite quote about art, creativity, or about life in general?

LH: “Thank you for the tragedy. I needed it for my art” -Kurt Cobain

CBAW: What experiences have led you to making art?

LH: “I have always turned to art and creating as a method of therapy. During my time at Walter Reed it became a vital part of my recovery and rehabilitation post TBI and Neurosurgery.”

CBAW: What do you love about making art?

LH: “I love the freedom of creation. It is truly personal and self driven.”

Leslie Hidalgo - Untitled

Unititled  (2020)

CBAW: What do you think about when you’re creating?

LH: “I think about how I can create a message through imagery without being overtly obvious. I want to leave room for interpretation so viewers can relate to my work.”

CBAW: What do you hope someone gets from looking at your artwork?

LH: “I hope to evoke a sense of nostalgia and comfort from past memories with some of my work. With other pieces I want to give the viewer the opportunity to find beauty within tragedy or pain.”

CBAW: Having taken part in CBAW programs, how are you impacted by the stories of other women veterans you have met in our workshops?

LH: “CBAW has given me a loving and supportive community. Hearing from other veterans and seeing them thrive beyond their pain is powerful. CBAW gives a deeper meaning to creating, it’s more than a hobby for us, it’s our lifeline.”

The Adorable War, Chapter 1

The Adorable War, Chapter 1 (2022)

You can find Leslie on social media at the links below, and don’t forget to check out her website, for more from Leslie.  We also have an excerpt from our In This Together gallery below that highlights more of Leslie’s portfolio. 

Leslie on Social Media: Facebook / Instagram / TikTok