My name is Justin Leonard and I am the creator of Second Life Timber based in Portland, Oregon. I make wood wall art and home décor inspired by geometric designs and nature. Most people think the inspiration for the name comes from me using reclaimed wood, but it actually comes from my story. I was given a second chance at life after almost dying in a terrible accident that left me wondering how it would change my life.
As a child I always enjoyed being creative, but never felt as if my work was good enough for myself or others. I constantly started projects I never finished or threw them away shortly after completion, because I felt like one flaw ruined the whole piece. This lack of self confidence continued through my teen years and as a young adult, until I was forced into a different way of thinking.
Eight years ago, I had a traumatic accident that left me redefining the way I look at life. I was hit by a train when crossing at an intersection as a pedestrian. I had to be flown to the hospital for emergency surgery that I almost didn’t survive through. I spent the first week of my recovery in a coma and I don’t have any memory of the accident, just what my friends and family have told me. I spent a total of 32 days in the hospital and had to learn how to walk again, but I also began to see life differently.
When I first woke up from my accident, I was full of anxiety not knowing how this would impact my life. But over time as I became used to my injuries, my anxiety turned to faith that I was going to be ok. I still face challenges today, but looking back to the beginning of my recovery makes me realize how far I have grown.
I no longer strive for perfection in myself, and have started showing people my insecurities. I realized that I was the only one holding myself back when it came to my art, so instead of ripping it up or throwing it away, I have learned to trust what I create. I still get nervous before every art show or market that I do, but I remind myself that if I just work through my doubt I can turn it into confidence.