One Artist. Three Decades. First Commercial Exhibition.

Leesa Streifler has enjoyed a successful career both as an artist and as an art professor at the University of Regina. Now, after three decades of artistic endeavor, she is about to try something new. This month, at her first major exhibition at a commercial gallery, Streifler’s work will be up for sale to the public.

Leesa Streifler: Drawing the Photograph, opens at Calgary’s Christine Klassen Gallery on February 4, 2016, as part of the Exposure Photography Festival. The opening reception takes place on February 6, at 1pm, and will feature a presentation by Streifler herself at 2pm. The show runs through March 19.

Streifler’s decision to step into the commercial sphere is being supported by a Market Travel grant from Creative Saskatchewan. The grant helps cover the costs of shipping several pieces of her collection, in some cases very large pieces, to the Calgary gallery. It also helps financially support Streifler’s travel to the gallery to attend the official opening, to deliver her presentation, and to interact with many potential private buyers of her work.

Streifler’s work is “photo-based” using a unique process developed by the artist herself. “Simply speaking, the process combines silhouettes of houses, rabbits, and pin up girls, with drawings,” said Streifler. “My unique scanning, photography and printing technique creates the final result, which I’m proud to say has been very well received over the years.”

While Streifler’s work has been featured in many exhibits and sold to public art galleries over the years, selling commercially to private collectors and art aficionados is new territory. “If people want to live with my art, I want them to have access to it, ” Streifler said. "I like the idea of people living with and enjoying art on a daily basis and if I can be part of this experience that is very satisfying.”

Assisting artists who choose to pursue commercial success is a core function of Creative Saskatchewan. “We’re very excited that Leesa turned to us for financial support as she pursues this next chapter of her artistic career,” said Susan Gorges, Interim CEO of Creative Saskatchewan. “We are always prepared to support an an artist who feels her work is ready for export. That's when we help her connect with new customers and achieve commercial success.”