Leonardo Balbi was born in 1957 in Valeggio sul Mincio, a picturesque little village near Verona, in northern Italy. After attending the School of Arts in Mantua, he enters the painting section of Accademia di Brera in Milan. The change from a small town to a world-renowned business, fashion and art centre is a stimulating and enriching experience. The discovery of different artistic realities, important events and exhibitions of famous artists represents a unique opportunity of personal growth. In that same period, an unexpected proposal gives Balbi the chance to work as a designer for an important glasses manufacturer.
He is still very young in 1975 when he begins, without much conviction, his career in glasses and fashion accessories design, and in 1984 he decides to work on his own. Thanks to his talent and experience, and supported by a very skilful staff, he opens a successful design studio, specialized in the design of prestigious glasses collections for famous Italian and foreign stylists.
Balbi’s artistic activity can’t be separated from his designer career, although the application fields may seem so different. Perhaps, the purpose is the only real difference. The exuberant fantasy, the extraordinary interpretation ability, the marked taste for decorative characters are all elements that can be found both in the artist and in the designer. Indeed, the passion for painting has never ceased, so the artistic creation has always gone along with the design activity. Today, though still working as a designer, Balbi is mainly an artist producing large-size abstract paintings on canvas.