Artist exhibits paintings of larger-than-life icons

Artist Ainslie MacLeod debuted a collection of larger-than-life oil paintings during the First Friday art walk at Caffe Vino Olio and The Hardware Store Restaurant Gallery on May 5.

Standing over six feet tall, many of MacLeod’s paintings feature inspirational women with a distinctive or empowering backstory. Subjects include women’s rights and gender equality activist Angela Davis, singer and French Resistance spy Josephine Baker, and actress and gay rights champion Mae West.

“My goal is to capture the essence of the soul that lies beneath the surface of those I paint,” MacLeod said. “Bringing these women to life on a larger scale is my way of honoring their commanding presence and legacy.”

A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, MacLeod worked as an advertising art director in London before finding his place as an accomplished illustrator, creating such notable pieces as Chester Cheetah for Frito-Lay, a Paul McCartney album illustration, and ads for megabrands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

After a 45-year hiatus from painting, a 2019 open-heart surgery literally opened his heart back up to a lifelong passion for working in oils. His influences, great artists like Manet and Sargent, inspire him as much as the subjects he paints.

In addition to his career as a fine artist, MacLeod is a well-known past-life psychic and author. He has written three books based on spiritual principles channeled from his spirit guides, and he also had the privilege of being interviewed by Oprah for her Super Soul Conversations series and by Ellen DeGeneres in the last season of her talk show.

MacLeod’s works will hang in The Hardware Store Restaurant and Caffe Vino Olio on the island throughout May.