Interview with Mipa Lee

Tell us a bit about yourself?
In terms of nationality, I’m Korean, but have spent most of my life abroad in different countries. I went to college in the US where I studied studio art and graphic design, but then returned to Korea and worked at a hakwon for a while, but now, I guess you can say I’m self-employed with my start up online vegan bake shop and painting on the side.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
Characters and aliens from a colorful, imaginary world in my head. Sometimes the characters are happy and whimsical, other times they are lonely and lost.

What are your main themes and inspirations?
Some common themes in my pieces include communication or language barriers, exploration, discovery, and the simple pleasures of life. There isn’t any specific thing that I use for inspiration… I can find inspiration in so many random things, whether it be books, film, people-watching, music, or just walking around the neighborhood. And sometimes, I’ll just start drawing whatever is on my mind at that moment and see where it leads me.

What is your favorite piece you have created?
It’s tough to choose a favorite. For me, it’s usually more about the process than the actual final result. I remember really enjoying painting the big ‘Burp Blurb’. I usually work at a small scale and this was one of my larger pieces which was a nice change. I also just enjoyed the randomness of the characters, the colors, and the detail of the patterns and background.

What things are difficult to draw?
I think the hardest is capturing the essence of a person or a gesture, which is why I really admire illustrators who are experienced with drawing the human form. I also think it’s difficult to draw anything that you heart is not into. When you can’t seem to get in the groove with a painting and no matter what you do, it’s not coming together, it can feel like pulling teeth.

What would be your dream art project?
To write and illustrate a children’s book or have a solo exhibit.

Can you recommend some Korean artists whose work you find inspiring?
They’re LA-based, but Jeana Sohn and David Choe are two that I’ve been following ever since college and I admire and respect their work and styles so much. I can just get lost in their work.

What else do you do besides art?
I spend a lot of my time baking vegan bread and cookies, but I also like to explore the city, take photos, blog, play with my bunny, and grocery shop.

Where in Seoul we can find the best bibimbap?
One of the most memorable bibimbabs I had in Seoul was at a traditional tofu restaurant, across the street from the Seoul Arts Center. They put thick slices of tofu in it, plenty of veggies, and a generous squeeze of flavorful sesame oil. It was deeelicious!

Seoul’s best kept secret?
I don’t think it’s exactly a secret but I think more people should check out the Bangsan baking market, even if you’re not into baking. It can be a bit hard to find because it’s surrounded by all these other markets in dongdaemun, but once you get there, it’s like you’re in baker’s heaven. I just love looking at all the packaging supplies and baking ingredients. :)

Mipa’s website: http://mipalee.com
Mipa’s vegan bake shop: http://www.aliensbakeshop.com
Mipa’s blog: http://aliensdayout.com


Min Lee

Meet Min Lee. A lovely artist that WOWSAN has been fan of for a long long time. Recently, she has opened a shop on Etsy where you can buy her art work including adorable ceramic pins which are perfect for a xmas gift!

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m Min Lee.
When I was growing up, our family lived in Bangladesh, France, Korea, Chile, and Argentina. Then I went to college in NYC, USA and I recently graduated from grad school in Gothenburg, Sweden. Living in so many places leaves me with different memories, it’s like I’ve lived through different lives and personas. It’s a bit strange.
 

What is your work style like?
It depends. Sometimes it’s sinister and weird, sometimes it’s cute and fun. My hand has a split personality disorder.

What is your favorite medium to work with?
Usually I’m not confined by medium. I try to make the most out of whatever medium I come by be it ceramics, textile, illustration or making an animation.etc Drawing with pencil may be my favorite, you can draw anywhere, anytime as long as you have a pencil and a piece of paper. Ceramic is difficult because you need to have everything set up.
 

Each of your pin has an own character. Is there a story behind each pin?
No. All the shapes and drawings happen as it goes. Nothing is pre-planned, it’s all accidental which fascinates me that you can come up with so many faces. I guess this working process is what drives me to make more. Otherwise, I get bored very quickly. But it’s interesting to see what people end up choosing either as a gift or for themselves. Among many choices I offer, they all find a pin that speaks to them the most.
 

Do you feel like things changed in Korea while you were away?
Things are more expensive than 2 years ago and the streets are cleaner. I guess it’s the influence of Design Seoul project they had going on. I kinda miss the old Seoul and its crazy neon signs, strange hues and mess. It’s getting more and more sterile now.
 

Which Korean artist you would like to collaborate with?
I don’t know about Korean artist but I kinda dreamed about collaborating with YOKOO (http://yokoo.tumblr.com/). I think the pins would look lovely with her scarves.
 

What is your favourite piece you have created?
I’m not sure…I always end up forgetting what I’ve made. It keeps my head clear.
 

If you could bring something from Sweden to Korea, what would it be?
My studio at HDK. Cherished friends. GLÖGG
 

Facebook: MININI
Etsy: Min’s shop


Sktechbooks by Pooroni Rhee

Pooroni Rhee is a noted Seoul-based graphic designer and illustrator. As most of the illustrators do, she kept a sketchbook with her illustrations and sketches. An impressive collection of those, as well as her art work, can be viewed on her website.


Yeji Yun

Today we are happy to share the lovely work of Yeji Yun, illustrator and artist currently based in London.
We were lucky get a chance to ask her some questions and share it with all of you. Enjoy!


Yeji in her studio

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hello, my name is Yeji Yun, originally from Seoul, South Korea. I spent over 20 years only in Seoul but from a some point at early my twenties, I started to travel around the world a bit by bit. The more I travel, the period of staying in a different city got longer and longer and now I ended up staying in London, It’s been two years and half now. I work as freelance illustrator and an artist based both in London and Seoul.


Femme homme (2010)

How did you end up in London, are you studying?

Once I had a chance to study in States as an exchange student and all the experiences I had at the time were really amazing and made me longing for another living and studying in abroad. Later I applied MA course in London after I graduate my university in Korea. So I came and studied a year course, finished in 2009 and now I’ve been staying and working in London since then. At the moment I wish I could stay as much as I can in London (not forever though), as lots of inspirations are here and I want to give a challenge with my ability here. However there’s obviously a visa problem. My working visa is ending in a year, therefore after that I might need to go back to Korea. I will see what will be happening during the year.


Diving taste pudding + Coral caramel syrup (2011)

How would you describe your work in 3 words?

Hand-drawn, poetic, nostalgia

What is your favorite medium to work with?

Graphite sets, pen and ink

What inspires you the most?

Emotional landscape I found sometimes inside of me between times


Big bang from A graphic cosmogony (2010)

Do you feel like your art change in some way when you moved to London?

Of course It has been developing a lot while I was in London. There are a lot of talented artists here, which is so competitive – exciting and frustrating at the same time. It makes me try harder to be genuine one.


The outsider by Albert Camus (2011)

Who are your favorite artists?

I have too many likes to just tell one. Maybe I can just mention one of my favorite artist book I’ve recently bought –
Swedish artist couple Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordstrom’s work collection book, ‘Who is sleeping on my pillow’ published by David Zwirner gallery in NY. I love all the images in the book. I like beautiful and bizarre creations which contain ambiguous and poetic feeling. In the same sense I always admire Marcel Dzama’s works, he’s also one of artists from David Zwirner gallery.


Mystery cave expedition (2010)

Do you miss the life in Korea? Can you name any favorite places from your hometown?

I like being in Korea in general but I don’t feel home sick that much when I’m away from there… However I miss Hongdae (홍대) area and people I used to hang out with in there. Most of my sweet memories after twenties are all in there.


Pukey Village (2010)

What is your dream?

In general I’d like to meet someone or people who I can share my feelings and create things together. We would travel all around the places then settle somewhere nice and comfortable. In terms of career, I wish my creations could connect me to something I admire. So making things happen, that sounds like a dream. For an easy example, I’d like to make album covers and tour posters for some bands I have admired and be good friends with them. :)


Genie teaches the spontaneous movement, Teleport (2009)

What else do you like to do besides art?

There’s nothing I can really do… If not art, I’d just like to sleep forever, or love forever.


The school of poetic activities, ‘Sunday’s Fantasy’ installation view (2009)

Be sure the check out Yeji’s website for more amazing work, www.seeouterspace.com.


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