Leonidas Orellana comes from a family of craftsmen. He has a distinctive technique and his pieces are always of high quality. Six of his seven brothers are also involved in the cultivation of Peruvian folk art.
As a child, Leonidas used to visit the archaeological remains of the indigenous people of Huari. He found remains of broken pottery and he enjoyed imagining what the pottery would have looked like when they were still used. At the age of thirteen, he spent a lot of time with two craft teachers, Arturo Pizarro and Leoncio Tineo, who helped him with developing his expertise in representing Huari culture in art, for example by making pieces of the bulls of Quinua. Ever since, Leonidas has been producing clay figures. Eventually, he perfected his technique and began to produce works of religious content.
Together with his brother Javier, he opened a studio and started making replicas of tools belonging to the Huari culture. At the age of nineteen, he moved to Lima to escape terrorism. While living in the district of Chorrillos, he founded his own studio inside the house of his brother Martial, where he began producing miniature parts. After a while, Leonidas could rent his own place and he began experimenting with different techniques. Leonidas considers this one of his best decisions in life, because the numbers of sold products increased significantly.
Between 1986 and 1990, Leonidas studied at the Peruvian School of Fine Arts to specialize himself further. He learned to use bright colors without losing the harmony between them. He also took other courses such as Contemporary Sculpture at the Cultural Center of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the best university of the country, and Business Administration at the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration (IEEP). His training and open mindset have helped him to turn traditional ceramics into a rich source of resources.
His studio provides work for about fifteen people, depending on orders. His employees are responsible for business development and the creative processes, including making authentic pieces of art with a twist. Leonidas appreciates the support of Inti Raymi and Raymisa when it comes to promoting Peruvian folk art and generating more orders.
His studio is a good example of a ceramic artist who has managed to combine traditional production with the modern demands of the international market, without neglecting his own identity.