COTTON BALLS, PIPE-CLEANERS, AND GOOGLY-EYES! 3D AND 2D ART BY ADEHLA LEE



I was born in South Korea and moved to NYC in the summer of 2009. I went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC and received my Masters in Fine Art in 2011.



Your work is so colorful, playful, and funky! Tell us about your journey as an artist and how you found your style.

I am glad you described my work with those words because I do love something colorful, playful, and funky. I think if someone likes something so much, they end up becoming similar with what they like. I am happy to can see my vision of my art becoming closer to what I like to achieve, even though there is still a lot more for me to do.


Your sculptures are amazing! Tell us your process, inspiration, and where you source your materials.

The biggest inspiration for my 3D work is my 2D work. I was originally a painter. Then, I wanted to bring out those elements in my paintings to the physical world. So I started collecting all kinds of stuff like pompoms, ester eggs, toys, plastic bags, etc… that had a visual similarity with my paintings. In terms of materials, I just buy something interesting to me without knowing what I am going to do with them. I purchased tons of stuff and also threw away a lot of them because they end up taking up too much room in my studio. I like something shiny, cute, colorful, unpredictable, useless, and strange.


What is most important to you about art?

Individuality. I want to be an artist who is impossible to be replaced by others.



Was there someone or something that influenced your work? Do you have any childhood memories or people you’ve met that influence your art in any way?

My biggest influence for my life including art is my grandmother. She passed away four years ago but I know that she will live in me for forever. She was a medium that had very unique life style and had a different perspective on life. Also she was very fashionable lady that I admired. She was always told me to not be afraid of being different or weird.


How do you want people to feel when they look at your work?

I want them to feel like they have never seen anything like it before and it is something that they enjoy.


What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?

I like to watch Youtube or Netflix shows or read book about crimes since I like detective stories or forensic science. Or, I go out to look at stuff, to places like toy stores, book stores, Michaels, vintage stores, or even Target. Those are all great stores that have a lot of cool stuff and always give me ideas.





Do you have a favorite artist?

I have a lot of people that I admire. Henry Darger, David Hockney, Frida Kahlo, David Bowie, Hayao Miyazaki, Lisa Frank, Coco Chanel, Wong Kar Wai, and many others.


Do you feel as though everyone has a bit of artistic ability inside of them or some are just born with it?

Well, I do think everybody has a bit of artistic ability. I just think each one has different amount. Some one have a small amount, some have a lot. Just like how everyone has different amounts of athletic abilities.


What has been your biggest achievement as any artist?

I don’t think I really achieved anything yet. My journey is still going on and I still have a lot more to go. If I have to mention any kind of achievement, I would say it is the combination of all my work. It sounds a bit narcissistic but I often look at my own work and enjoy them. Yes, it is hard to look at some of my bad paintings but those are also fun as they are.


What are some of your goals for the next year?

I want to make some prints from my paintings. I never did that before and I often get requests from people that they want to buy my prints. I think original paintings are often too much for people to buy and maintain.


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