An interview with the Artist Alison Lee:
- How and when did you start your art?
My first approach to art was at a very young age when I started to have artistic interests and my mother sent me to an art academy since she saw in me a potential since that moment. I studied during the 3rd and 6th grade of elementary school.
However, I realized that I desired to draw freely without following the strict ways of traditional teaching. For that reason, I decided to stop attending classes. Sometime later, when I finished high school I had to earn a living by working so I put aside my interest in artistic practice. I started in design school and dedicated myself
to the design of women's clothing and in 2018 I had the opportunity to launch my line of handbags. But since 2019 I took refuge again in art as it helped me to channel in a very complicated moment of my life.
- What are you doing now?
I recently finished the first series of abstract paintings that encapsulate everything I have been working on since I returned to painting. I have experimented with different techniques and made three-dimensional pieces incorporating rare materials. These
works explore the different states of nature and the new stage in my life as a mother and the approach to my first love: painting. I have already started to produce the second series.
- Projects for the future?
I plan to continue exploring the world of textures in the future. The texture is a reflection of our beautiful history; it is a piece of life. They are organic forms with their rhythm. They also have the ability to evoke a more complete experience for the observer, which includes tactile stimulation.
I intend to continue working in three dimensions using recycling as the main ethical way of creation, like the use of old furniture. As the series repeats, slightly different themes can be found. In the next series that is in progress, I have incorporated oriental painting.
I also have in mind in the future to produce series inspired by
Christian art. I would like my works to express God's will since He opened the way for me to paint when I went through various obstacles. One way to return this blessing is to share it
with all my viewers so that they can all connect with God and with art as I was able to do. In any case, my works, with the exception of the three-dimensional ones, of course, have texture as their guiding thread as an expressive resource.
Through texture, I would like several themes to be created within them, so I will continue exploring its aesthetic and narrative possibilities.
-What is the most important moment in the realization of a work?
I conceive artistic creation as an expression of the interior of the human being and therefore, it is a highly personal and subjective process. In my case, every moment of realization is important. My work begins from the contemplation of reality and one's own life experience to the generation of the concept and the
visualization to the concrete realization guided by spontaneity. The final result is a pure manifestation that emerges from the relationship between nature and the story I wish to tell.
The artistic search is therefore a consequence of conceptual exploration and artistic experimentation. I do not conceive anything a priori. I consider that as an artist I assimilate the essence of my external and internal environment, I gather it and shape
it. For the production of my works, I am guided by the intuitive abstraction that often evokes nature but in less representative forms. I practice an individualized art in which my expression as an artist takes precedence.
-What role does art play in everyday life?
Art plays a very important role in people's lives both in society and as individuals. Since the origins of humanity, art has been an essential manifestation of the human being related to the inherent need to communicate a message and express oneself.
Art is present in all the small experiences of life, in observing a beautiful sunset, enjoying a
rainy day, appreciating nature itself; life without art would be unimaginable, it would not be the same. It is very important for me to transmit my art to my children.
Whether children appreciate or carry out artistic activities has a great influence on their expressive capacity since it strengthens the imagination and even helps them in the learning process. A child whose childhood is surrounded by art is a stimulated child. It also generates curiosity in them and this always helps them to
incorporate new information.
I believe that all children should enjoy art, from my own experience I can say that artistic practices help them to express emotions, connect with the world around them and their peers, empower their reflective thinking and help them to express what they
cannot with words. It could be said that art allows parents to get to know their children better and if we share with them, feel closer to them.
Creativity is essential. The development of artistic activities not only
functions as catharsis but also allows people to be more sensitive and this is increasingly necessary in a world where society is becoming more individualized and dehumanized. On the
other hand, I think it also motivates people to understand what they are seeing; art teaches us to look. Observation, reflection, and the exchange of ideas are essential factors for a better future. Art raises awareness and creates better societies.
Appreciating and producing art is a different and beautiful way of
understanding life, ourselves, and our environment.
-Where is going the art?
Well, I consider that this is a somewhat profound question and one that never has a definitive answer. Basically, what is interesting is that everyone can have their own interpretation. Since art history, its meaning and function has mutated over the centuries, there was even a time when the concept of art did not even exist.
Beyond the fact that it is a cultural product, it is above all subjective. As I said before, art is related to the intellect and the emotions, to creations whose purpose is the expression
through various materials and techniques, aesthetic criteria, and our own experiences.
Artistic practice is a way of expressing a particular vision of the world, beyond the system of representation chosen by the artist, which is a personal decision. Art is a free, authentic, and true expression
-Where do you get inspiration for your works from?
My main inspiration is nature and my inner self. From an early age, I feel close to painting as a means of expression. Not only has it helped me connect with my outside,but it has also allowed me to channel my emotions at different stages of my life. In one
way or another, art has always been present in me, whether designing clothing, bags or painting. Today, my children are a great source of inspiration. In fact, in some of my works I have been inspired by their old toys, and in others I have included them
directly on the canvas in my three-dimensional productions. My goal with this is to capture the fleeting childhood and immortalize it artistically. It is a way to keep in memory the naivety of a moment in life that passes very quickly and will never return.
As I have mentioned, in my works I do not intend to represent reality in a true way. I prefer to do it through three-dimensional forms, colors, patterns, and textures. I have encouraged myself to go much further than simply applying paint to the canvas to
explore different combinations and experiment with new techniques. During the creative process, I bring all the elements of painting to life, full of very personal and sincere emotions and thoughts. These elements have their own choreography, which
allows them to coexist in harmony.
-Which messages do you want to reach the viewer?
I want those who come in contact with my art to feel warm, to connect genuinely with the work and with themselves. The artwork that doesn't convey anything makes no sense to me. Everything is developed with beauty and feeling; a sensory pleasure that
focuses on some visual quality that impacts the viewer in various ways. Contemplating it has to transmit an aesthetic pleasure but if it does not generate any emotion, it is just a beautiful image.
Everyone has their own belief but, for me, the only eternal identity is our energy, our soul, since it cannot be destroyed, nothing else can be manipulated and transformed. With art, I want others to understand that everything is transformed and changed.
Change things, instead of striving to keep everything the same. Much of what I do is capture the moments of transition. Today, more than ever, the world needs to renew its energies. Humanity must transform its ideas and actions.
-What is the artwork of your dream?
I don't think there is a particular work that I would consider to be my dream work. Art has no utility, it exists to be made and contemplated. Through the works, we artists can appropriate reality through our personal experiences but there is no ultimate goal.
In that sense, my goal is not only to exteriorize my inner world but also to share it and let other people identify with it.
-Your preferred media to realize artwork?
Usually, I work on canvas. Then I apply different techniques and materials, even in the same work. Part of my particular style is the inclusion of my materials. I combine different materials, from traditional acrylics to non-toxic and recyclable organic ones to
create textural effects. Also, the latter is a way to involve and respect nature, capturing a piece of it directly on the canvas without harming it. As a result, my works have a sculptural character. The texture appeals to our sense of touch and helps
provoke emotional responses in the viewer. As in art, you can see the texture of everything: the soft leather of the chair, the carpet, or even the softness of the clouds in the sky. From
the texture, I bring my creations to life, they become real.
-How much of Korea and USA can we find in your art?
Both countries are part of me. Korea represents my family, my birth, my childhood. The United States is the country where I lived most of my life, where I worked and studied. Of course, they are two very different and even opposing cultures, but they represent my identity, therefore, what I reflect in my art.
-What is the opposite of you?
I think the opposite of me is an artist who is only interested in the
commercial nature of his work, who doesn't connect with his production on a more intrinsic level. I mean an artist who also does not get involved with what his work transmits and with his
viewers. Someone opposed to me would experience reality only through exteriority, that dimension that we only know through the senses. Someone opposed to me would not be concerned with inhabiting its interiority.
-Who decides that a work of art is such: the artist or the public?
I think it is mutual. Both the artist and the public need each other; they build a relationship of reciprocity. After all, art always implies a social act, what sense would art have if it were never shared? The experience is that the work of art begins to acquire different interpretations and where different discourses intervene and
that is where everything interesting begins: how a work that was born in a lonely room is constantly transformed. A work is valid if it has a relationship, a connection with the public: if not, it is not worth anything.
The work of art may be finished but without the audience, it is locked in itself. Nevertheless, it was made by an artist, a person with feelings, and problems like the observer. At this point, I think the artist should have an analogy with the viewer. The
work of art always relates to the viewer.
-Is Art really the international language?
Absolutely. Art is a universal language. It breaks down all geographical and cultura lbarriers. There is no age, gender, or language to appreciate art. There are no rules for
interpreting a work of art. The visual language of art is understandable to anyone because the dialogue between the viewer and the work is emotional, and the interpretation varies according to the viewer's cultural background and personal
experiences. Anyone can also manifest themselves through artistic expression. Moreover, as I mentioned, art is everywhere.
-Did Italy influenced your and other art worldwide?
Of course, it did. Even though my artistic style is more xperimental, I have gone through the art academy. It's impossible that as an artist, Italy's art doesn't influence my art. Italy's cultural heritage is so immense that it goes beyond geographical boundaries. It is impossible to name in a synthetic way everything that Italian
culture and art have contributed to humanity. Since Ancient Rome, it has influenced artistic movements in the world, especially painting and sculpture. Its greatest contribution, I believe, lies in the heritage of the Renaissance and its contribution to
contemporary scientific knowledge and humanist philosophy. For centuries, it has given us the work of the greatest artists in the history of art. But above all, Renaissance art marked a
before and after, it marked the transition from the medieval period to the Modern Age. I believe that from the Italian Renaissance the concept of art, artist, and art system was born. Thanks to this, today there are different regulatory professions such as patrons, curators, gallery owners, museographers, etc. As well as this, new
techniques and new artistic sensibilities have been developed and are in force many times today.
Moreover, not only Italy caused a great impact on the visual arts. In fact, no one has been able to transmit with such fidelity and freshness the reality of society as the Italian cinema of De Sica, Rossellini, Visconti, Fellini among many others.
Italian craftsmanship is another tangible example of how art has developed. The painting and the sculpture are exhibited in museums but the exhibition halls and galleries are those
that better defend the new artistic waves, or they gather with retrospectives to some geniuses of the brush.
- How much truly important are social media for you?
Well, I think that nowadays social networks are a great help for artists in general. They have caused a great revolution in all areas of society and of course, the art sector has not been an exception. Thanks to the networks, the art market is becoming more
democratic, giving us the independence to show what we do and contact the public directly without the need for a gallery to represent us. But it also gives power and freedom to art lovers because the Internet provides them with a new way to
access art. Now we can access works of artists of all styles and from anywhere in the world thanks to these new spaces of conversation called social networks.
While the offline medium remains critical and the primary avenue of exposure for an artist, Instagram also functions as a virtual gallery where we are creators, curators, and gallery owners all at once. Personally, I use this medium to show my work, my
creative process, and of course, to create an image of whom I am as an artist. In this way, I configure my own original universe that sets me apart from the rest. In short, it is a very effective business card to generate engagement with fans and why not,
future sales, or contacts.
-The white: is the sum or the absence?
White is presence, white is the sum of all colors. For me, it is a color that symbolizes calm, peace, and tranquility. Also, it is purity, which is not corrupt. White is also the color of truth, honesty, and sincerity. Even when white is seen as the absence of color,
it is associated with the inner world of people, with authenticity.
Personally, white serves to cleanse and clarify emotions, helping to relax high levels of stress and anxiety; in short, it is protective and spiritual.
-Must the viewer (audience) understand the artist or vice versa?
No, not at all. We return to the emotional, in an abstract painting reality is not represented faithfully, therefore, the viewer can interpret data from reality, elements that can lead to certain forms and colors. The title may invoke something, but it is not
necessarily what the artist always means. That is why there is always a dialogue between the viewer and the work that is extremely intimate. Many times the spectators are unable to read a painting because they don't have the technical or conceptual resources to do so, so the important thing is the link that is built between
both of them from the emotional point of view, that this work moves them, that it mobilizes them, that it doesn't make them indifferent. What is common to all human beings is the capacity to feel emotions.
Art begins when one abandons all kinds of certainty. So, in my opinion, the point does not lie in the misunderstood work of art, but rather in the observer. The same is true of the artist. This is the most enriching aspect of art because if it were not so, all actors
would play the same role, all architects would make the same constructions, all musicians would sing the same songs. The inclusion of the individual aspects of the artist in his work, as a unique human being, makes the heterogeneity of art.