Get to Know Local Artist Leo Kiesling
You can’t deny that Wichita has hometown pride. It’s difficult to go a day without seeing someone wearing the iconic Wichita flag, or hearing someone talk about the local coffee shops and breweries. Local businesses are integral to the heart of Wichita. Shopping local allows Wichita to thrive even more by keeping dollars right in the city’s economy.
Shopping local is important, whether it may be coffee, food, or ART!
Local artist extraordinaire, Leo Kiesling, emphasizes just how important it is.
Q&A with Leo
Why is keeping it local important?
I’m lucky that I’ve been able to make a career out of this. I’m thankful for all the opportunities Wichita has given me, and I want to give back in the ways that I can. When I work in film, I do what I can to bring them here because Wichita is the perfect place for a western shoot. With Cowtown being centrally located, it makes all the difference. They don’t have to stay out in the desert in tents barely showering. They can stay at our hotels, eat our food, and drink our coffee. I love using local business and local people because you get such a wonderful sense of community out of it.
Not only does shopping local keep the money right here in Wichita, but it also goes farther than that. When you buy that pint of beer at a local brewery, you’re also putting food on their table. You’re helping your community. When you buy that painting, you’re also promoting the reenactments performed at Old Cowtown Museum. Small Business Saturday and keeping it local is a wonderful thing; all of those little tiny puzzle pieces come together to make something beautiful.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is one way you can embrace the uniqueness of Wichita. Small Business Saturday started back in 2010, as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Wanting to drive attention to local businesses, American Express initially publicized and sponsored the event. The first Small Business Saturday was met with such enthusiasm and success that it’s been its own shopping holiday ever since.
This year the day to shop local will be Saturday, November 25!
Why did you settle in Wichita?
I’m not a Wichita native, but I do consider this city to have adopted me. I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and I traveled around the country a lot when I was younger. I had been entertaining and traveling for so long, and like with most stories, it involved a girl. Wichita is like none other; I love the big city with the small town attitude. For my birthday, I even got a call from my pharmacist!
How did you get into Spray Paint Art?
I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. My mom was an artist and I spent quite a bit of time on the strip in Vegas with the performers. I loved the spray paint guys, I essentially bugged them until they taught me. People tend to keep it at galaxies and planets with their spray paint art, but I love putting that Wichita flair into it through the flag and the Keeper of the Plains statue.
What all do you do?
I do Wichita Spray Paint, but I also do so much more. I’m known as the bloody horror guy in Wichita with special effects and makeup, so I do quite a bit of that. I did the makeup for Shrek: The Musical at Crown Uptown here in town. I work on Halloween year long, both as a consultant for haunted houses, and a prop maker for trade shows. I’m a gunslinger at Cowtown with the River City Renegades. I love mentoring the students in USD 259 by encouraging them to pursue the arts. I also work in film and television.