September 08, 2016
Jennie Jieun Lee
Jennie Jieun Lee On Beetlejuice, Judy Blume + Being A Sexy Divorcee
Who: Jennie Jieun Lee, Artist, Ceramicist, Spiritual Seeker
Why She’s Foxy: She's a former Rockland County goth kid by way of Korea whose taken New York City by storm with her wildly expressive abstract ceramics born from the darkest depths of her bizarre and beautiful subconscious.
On Being A Wayward Teen: “My family and I moved to New York City in the late seventies from Korea — but I spent my teenage years in upstate New York. I was this wayward teen who found life and camaraderie in the small goth community of Rockland County. Art was always the only — and I mean only — thing I wanted to do."
On Becoming An Artist: “When I graduated art school in Boston and I moved back to NYC, I could not figure out a way to make art and afford rent at the same time. So much of what I do for the business end of my work as an artist comes from the female bosses I had over the last decade — designer Cindy Greene of Libertine, Anita Bitton of Establishment Casting, and Resurrection Vintage. It wasn’t until four years ago, when I felt like my soul was dying, that I forced all my energy into doing art again. The only thing that kept me from stopping was the fear of returning to that dark place. Eventually, my work started getting noticed by friends, galleries and stores."
On Feeding Her Creativity: “Typically I go to the studio during the day to work — and I think of ideas at night in bed. Right now I’m on a road trip through America. Witnessing the natural fires and hot springs of Yellowstone has greatly fed my creative and spiritual well. During the process of building then glazing clay and firing it to approximately 2200 degrees, I am projecting a visual and it is satisfying to see after it's been fired."
On Dating: "Before I met my boyfriend five years ago, I did not date; I would rather rip my skin off. But then my friends got tired of me crying lonesome every Sunday, so they gently guided me toward online dating. Luckily he was the second person I found on this site and we had friends in common. On our first date, he said his sister lived in Norway and I told him my sister lives in Sweden, so as a joke I said ‘We should go visit them together one day!’ Little did I know that we would end up visiting them twice a year.”
On Marriage: “Before my father died, he had a secret relationship and children with other women which destroyed our family. After the tragedy of him dying and all the drama, my beautiful mother was able to let go of his chains and find a new loving partner named Mr. Kim. They've been married for over twenty years now. I believe that if you find someone that doesn't control but inspires you, marriage is a great idea. And if not, being a divorceé isn't a bad thing — it sounds sexy as hell.”
Best Wedding She’s Attended: “Pauline Wolstencroft and Daniel Brantley. They got married on a barge in Red Hook on May 1, 2001. I remember their first dance was to The 6th's 'You You You You'. It could be that I was on a small amount of Ecstasy at their wedding, but that song still stays with me."
Fav Female Artist: “I love the British artist, Alison Britton. Her shapes and colors have inspired me since I first started painting on clay. I have also always loved Helen Levitt’s photographs which remind me of what New York City looked like when I moved here.”
Style Icon: “Delia Deetz from Beetlejuice because she wore high Japanese fashion (Issey, CDG, Matsuda) that complimented her kinetic sculptures.”
On Her Dream Day: “It was two days ago! I woke up in a hotel off I-80, my boyfriend brought me my coffee, we got in the car and drove through the Bonneville Salt Flats at a hundred and twenty six miles an hour. No one was in sight."
Fave Book: “'Forever' by Judy Blume. When I was young, I desperately wanted to know what losing one's virginity was going to be like. It was my guide book of love."
Fave Movie: “'Some Kind of Wonderful'. The scene where she convinces him to practice kissing on her is so visceral. Great soundtrack, too.”
Fantasy Wedding: “Robert Smith of 'The Cure', and his muse Mary Poole — they actually got married in 1988. I would definitely take my boyfriend from high school. We would dress like Rose McGowan and Jill Bryson of 'Strawberry Switchblade'. The afterparty would be held in a docked ship (like the Queen Mary), music would vary from hip hop, jazz and classical, and there would be lots of caffeine and cake. Perhaps a murder would occur and it would turn into a Clue-like whodunnit."