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Chronology of a Bedtime Story by an Artist

Meet Leah Poller.  A highly unique artist, her inspiration has been, "The Bed."  Her show, "Mirrors of the Soul," will be on display at the Knox Gallery from the 11th of April through the 11th of May.  While everyone has a personal perspective on bedtime, Ms. Poller's "bed art," makes you think twice about your own bed(room) with a view.

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To begin my new, post-divorce life in Paris, I enrolled in the Beaux Arts to test my secret dream of becoming an artist. My first studio was nestled in the garrets of an 8th floor walk-up on Boulevard St. Germain where, in the hours sandwiched between classes and raising a family alone, I began my first tentative gestures of creativity. In order to reach my studio, I would climb 101 stairs, counting each step as a possible idea, a foot closer to realizing my dream.


Twenty years later, I was to return to the US with children grown, diploma earned and a good roster of exhibitions behind me. Nonetheless, I was fearful of making this giant leap from Europe to America without at least somewhat of a safety net beneath me; I had met many expat artists from around the world and they all lamented that such culture shocks in their lives had always led to standstill periods. I was determined for this not to happen. So, I put a plan in place.


My crutch was to start a sculpture in Paris and finish it in the US, hoping it would provide a continuum of creativity. I began a piece in my Paris studio (now graduated to a sumptuous space near the Trocadero) called, “In a Leap From Her Bed,” and packed it up, half finished for the trip to the US.  Upon arrival, I staked out my territory in a quintessential loft on Greene Street in SOHO in the glorious days when Houston to Canal Street had strict borders outruling suits and ties, the scene was edgy, and artists and galleries abounded. And voila,  “In a Leap” and I had officially landed stateside.  I finished the piece and my career as a NY artist commenced seamlessly.


Alas, shortly thereafter, a studio accident moving a large piece, followed by a motor accident, left me bedridden for months, incapable of continuing with large-scale work for years. “In a Leap,” was solidly squatting my bed space and called forth the next creative idea -  “The 101 Bed Collection,” an ambitious undertaking in which I transformed common words with “bed” in them into 3 dimensional metaphors in bronze – Bed Time, Bed of Roses, Bed and Breakfast, Death Bed, Bed-Bath-and Beyond – the list was 101 long!  ‘The 101 Bed Collection,” gained an audience, was exhibited time and time again, winning prizes, earning commissions and growing in scale.


Now, for the dream awake: My daughter, having remained in Paris, had inherited the bits and pieces of my Parisian years that were stored in her basement “cave.” With a move impending, she invited me home to clear out my stuff. And lo and behold, there was a box with all my sketchpads and notebooks from my early years as a Beaux Arts Student. Imagine – completely forgotten, buried somewhere in the farthest reaches of my thoughts, was imbedded the proof that the 101 Beds began, not at the time of my accident as I had recounted at all the Bed exhibitions, but as I had climbed those stairs to the garret, counting each step, until one day, somewhere around step 78, they had become bed-steps, then bed-rooms, and then “beds.”


My personal bedtime story was inscribed way before I ever realized the role it would play in my waking hours, impacting my core identity and my future as an artist. So, living happily ever after, my dream has come true and I am the artist I set out to be.

However, I would be remiss not to offer a word of caution: Be careful of the bedtime stories you tell, some of them can become truer than true!


About Leah Poller:
Paris trained sculptor Poller is known for her internationally exhibited 101 Bed Collection and for her sur-realized portraits. As artist, arts-activist, writer and content editor of New Observations, Poller brings a lifetime career in the arts to Harlem where she lives and works. Her current exhibition of portraits, “Mirrors of the Soul” will be on exhibit at the Knox Gallery ( from April 11-May 11. For more information: