By Peg Lopata, Contributing editor
HUDSON – Some people’s lives are carefully planned and mapped out. Other people follow chance. In the case of Leslii Stevens, however, the dogs played an important role in directing the next step.
Stevens is an artist who has lived in Hudson for almost two decades. Experienced in a variety of mediums, she has found herself close to large stages and bright lights over the years, photographing world famous music superstars while pursuing a number of other art forms.
Dogs and moving in Hudson
Stevens traveled frequently during his childhood, as his father worked as a minister.
So it was a dog that brought her to Hudson in Cambridge as an adult nineteen years ago.
His previous dog had just died and Stevens was ready for his next one. Pets have always been a part of her life. She had been involved in rescuing dogs for thirteen years.
“Dogs are pretty much the rock stars of my world,” she told the Community Advocate.
Stevens’ marriage had also broken up, prompting her to put her condo up for sale. She started looking for a home that would be suitable for both Siberian huskies and close to a colleague, who was also a friend, dog rescuer and artist like herself.
Stevens found Hudson. The move went well. She loved it and found Hudson to be a good place to raise her child as a single mother.
“I liked the diversity,” Stevens said of Hudson. “I felt comfortable with Hudson’s Portuguese heritage. I liked the calm. I found a community.
Change and love of art
Stevens is no stranger to change.
“I love adventure,” she says.
But, through it all, art has always been a constant, existing at the heart of Stevens’ identity.
“I make art because that’s how I am,” she says. “It’s my human conception. I have always been an artist.
Stevens, in fact, began painting as a child, using interior paint on scrap paper. On other occasions, she would tear up magazines and then cut them together. Now she mainly combines photography with paint and various other materials.
“I have an easier time with art because I have learning disabilities, especially dyslexia,” she says. “Growing up with these disabilities without realizing that I had them, I prospered with art.”
Photography and passion for rock music
Photographing people is an art form that Stevens says shows his talents and skills particularly well.
“I like to freeze the moment when people do what makes them happy,” she said. “I like to capture people without rest. You can see their true soul this way.
In this sense, Stevens accidentally discovered a passion for live music photography.
“I had a brand new camera that I didn’t really know how to use,” she explained. “I asked if I could take pictures at a rock concert. The rest is history. ”
Over the years, Stevens has photographed various musicians such as Alice Cooper, Peter Frampton and Billy Joel. She lived on a tour bus for weeks and traveled across the United States with Experience Hendrix, a touring troupe of musicians paying homage to beloved guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
“I recorded the daily life of the musicians who came together to play the music of Jimi Hendrix,” she explained.
Read more about Stevens on his website: www.studio23hudson.com.
Photos courtesy / Leslii Stevens