Leslie Iwai was born in Stuttgart, Germany to a military family in 1971. Second of five daughters, her family eventually landed in the Midwest. Gravitating towards both art and science, Leslie began her studies in Mathematics and Chemistry at Wayne State College in Nebraska. With a natural inclination towards interdisciplinary work fostered by an in-depth honors program at her college, she went on to receive her Master of Architecture at Virginia Tech.
The sudden death of her father prompted her to move back to the Midwest where she shifted her vocation and began cutting her artistic teeth in Omaha, Nebraska. Drawing from a material rich palette, Leslie creates installation, sculpture and performance work that is intimately interactive and ephemeral in nature. She is passionate about bringing unusual connections found in her research and artistic process to the surface for others’ ruminations and inspiration.
As the first recipient of the Bemis Community Arts Fellowship (2005) and most recently as the first Artist-in-Residence for Intervarsity’s Urbana 2018, Leslie has had many awards, solo exhibits and residencies. Currently, she is working on a solo exhibit for the Miller Museum in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for Winter 2020. Leslie now enjoys living in and exploring Wisconsin with her husband where she makes art, collaborates and connects with her community.