Meet Joon Lee, Ian Tan Gallery’s May Artist of the Month

Love is a Hell of a Drug (2020), mixed media on canvas, 63″ x 32″

The Goods from Ian Tan Gallery

Vancouver, BC | In this new monthly series, the Ian Tan Gallery highlights one exhibiting artist or artist they represent, by asking them to answer a short four-question interview designed to introduce them to Scout readers.

Meet Joon Lee, Ian Tan Gallery’s feature artist for the month of May. Four of Lee’s paintings, including the one pictured above, will be featured in the Gallery from May 7 – 31, 2022.

Please introduce yourself. Who are you, where do you live, and what is your medium?

Hello, I’m Joon Lee, a local Vancouverite, and my current medium is painting acrylic on wood veneer.

We know it’s hard to pick a favourite, but if you had to choose one piece from the works you have at Ian Tan Gallery to best represent your style and practice overall, which would it be and why?

My current practice is quite different from the works presented at Ian Tan Gallery, as my style has developed more flat and contemporary…nevertheless, I do have an emotional attachment to this piece, Love is a Hell of a Drug. It was a time when I questioned the traditional values of love and wanted to convey visually how I felt about falling in and out of love.

If you could display your art in any building, establishment, or other place in Vancouver (not a gallery), where would you choose?

I think having a couple of pieces in The Botanist, Kissa Tanto, and Dachi would be neat. I like places that have a strong sense of aesthetics, intertwining modern with the contemporary.

Art is a visual experience, but I’d like to challenge you to describe yours using the less obvious senses: sound, taste, smell and feeling.

The works I create now tend to gravitate toward a calm setting, where viewers can mute their surroundings and rest on the colours that waft a gentle breeze of late August summer, before the days of constant wildfires and heatwaves. All the colours I mix have a taste of that 1970s mustard with the modern aesthetic of plasticity. It feels nostalgic, yet new. It’s not what each piece represents, but the colours that speak. That will always live in my work, no matter what series or medium.

View more of Joon Lee’s artwork online here.


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