It's been a little while since we did an Artist Interview. So to kick off the first interview of 2009 I asked David Michael Lee, who will be appearing in the exhibition Invasion at @Space Contemporary this Saturday night, if he would answer a few questions for our readers. Here ya go:
Tell us about your work?
The work is about observations, still or active, it does not matter. The observation deck from which I paint varies, high in the sky, real high in the sky or from a point much more terrestrial. The work has always been about looking, perceiving and interpreting people. The paintings can be abstract and colorful, simple and to the point, or drawn-out with an obtuse, shoestring, narrative. I look at our history and foresee the future, while keeping it fun and interesting.
What Artists have influenced you and how?
There is a handful of art and artists out there that have
influenced me, but before that, the people that have inspired me:
• People who jumped off cliffs with oversized bird wings in the name of aviation
• Scientists like Richard Feynman who were able to balance two great worlds
Hans Hoffmann, great color
Sigmar Polke, I enjoy the narratives
Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, the exploration of new and mixed media
Van Gogh, Gauguin, Southern France will never be the same
Big oversized paintings with lots of color
What motivates you to make work and stay focused in the studio?
I think about working everyday, especially when I see something that I like, and that can be almost anything. The more places I go and the wider range of things I see, all have a profound influence on me. I like stories and the people that tell them. I am motivated by conversations and my thoughts provoked by them, actions from our past and the potential of our future, and more importantly an interest in making things that will last longer than me and can be in more that one place at a time.
Give us your thoughts about the benefits and challenges of being an artist in Orange County?
Orange County offers an unique opportunity for artists. The benefits, I would say that we have a strong, diverse, well educated, network here and we are all supportive of each other. The challenges are convincing people outside of the county that the above is true.
What Projects/Shows are up next for you?
This Saturday (Jan 10th), I have an exhibition up at @space Contemporary.
Over the next couple of months I am working on the Orange County Art Grant, big prize this year $2500. Get those submissions in soon. (Feb. 9th)
In the future I hope to have an opportunity to exhibit a project I have been thinking about as of late. It involves Chinese Opera, Walt Disney, the Worlds Fair, foreign currency, the history of flags, Asian Dragons, power, abuse, color theory and greed, all set to percussions, a loose narrative and chorography. I hope to produce drawings, prints, paintings, doll clothing, costumes, music and a book.