By Artists For Artists

Joseph Lee: A Modern Look at the Human Expression

The Epitome of Self-Taught

Joseph Lee is a Korean-American artist who was born in Arizona where he wasn’t that exposed to art. However, being an only child, he found ways to entertain himself and after all the things he tried to make as a child, he somehow stumbled into fine art.

"Identitychrist" by Joseph Lee, oil and oil pastel on canvas, 2018

It was at the age of 25 when Joseph’s love for the craft blossomed. As a creative and struggling actor in Los Angeles, he found art as a way to express himself freely. Painting became his way of being creative in a buzzing city and being grounded and mentally refreshed. After a year of trial and error and honing his technical skills, Joseph began developing his own style of painting and has since then become a successful artist in his own right.

"Cross-Pollinating Study II" by Joseph Lee, oil on photographer, 2018

“Whether it was building forts outside or putting together my own toys from scraps, I always enjoyed using my hands. In a way, I’m still that same kid, but making different toys.”

"Closed Captain" by Joseph Lee, oil on canvas, 2018

People Inspired, Life Fueled

Most of Joseph Lee’s inspiration, as one can observe just by looking at his work, comes from people and more importantly their expressions. While most of his art is bred through his observations, some of it is shouldered by his other artistic passion—acting. The craft has given him an insider look into the study of the human expression and has helped him create piece after piece of interesting artwork.

"In The Flesh" by Joseph Lee, oil and pastel on canvas, 2018

Through painting, Joseph has become a more confident person and a grounded individual because of his work. One look at his art, especially the recent pieces, and you’ll feel the sense of stability and certainty in what kind of artist he is and wants to be. While his materials are not that far detached from the traditional spectrum of art, he delivers pieces that are of this time—that a young person can look at and feel attached to.

"Self Portrait" by Joseph Lee, oil on canvas, 2018

“Do I want to make money? Yes. Do I want validation? Of course. But at the end of the day, none of those things matter if I am not content with how I’m living my life.”

"Emotion Picture" by Joseph Lee, oil and pastel on canvas, 2018

An Artist Of and For Today

Joseph admits that social media has played a part in him promoting his work, and while traditional artists might not warm up to the idea of the internet, it is a tool that young artists such as Joseph have been using to spread the art. And isn’t spreading the art as far as one can reach every artist’s goal?

"In Between Me" by Joseph Lee, oil on canvas, 2018

There’s something about using palette knives that makes a piece feel more contemporary-modern. This combined with the multitude of colors that pop right off of the canvas makes Joseph Lee’s work stand out from the crowd. His artworks aren’t intimidating. In a way, they’re inviting despite the bit of mysteriousness some pieces invoke. They’re eye-catching and can easily draw in young art enthusiasts.

All images copyright of Joseph Lee

You can view more work by Joseph on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Kathlene Masilongan

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