Figurative Painter Jeff Lee, Artist Interview
Interview by NYC fine art photographer Angela Cappetta.
Figurative Painter Jeff Lee. So, I shot Jeff’s wedding and have always been a huge fan of his work. I went to their home the morning of their nuptials to photograph them getting ready. Naturally, I was enthralled with the charcoal drawings casually hung on their walls. I later found out they were by Jeff’s own hand. Naturally, I deduced that Jeff’s confident sense of line and proportion are no mistake. His work is nothing short of mesmerizing. I could stare at it all day. Someday I hope to convince him to do a trade with me (hint, hint).
Figurative Painter Jeff Lee.Artist Interview
Jeff Lee has paid the bills by working in the fashion retail industry for the last 25 years. Not only has Jeff led departments and traveled the globe while working in the areas of visual merchandising, store design and customer experience are also in his wheelhouse. Mister Lee recently re-discovered his love for drawing and painting and held his first professional exhibition at Collier West Annex in Brooklyn. He currently spends his time between Brooklyn and Orient Point and lives with his husband and dog. He’s currently working on his next collection of paintings which will be released later in the year.
What is the subject matter in your show all about?
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN TO PORTRAITURE AND FIGURATIVE WORK. I’M INTRIGUED BY THE HUMAN BODY & FACE AND THE NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION THAT BOTH CONVEY IN THEIR VARIOUS POSES, GLANCES AND POSITIONING. I SEE A LOT OF GRACE, BEAUTY & EMOTION IN BOTH. FURTHERMORE, I ENJOY BLURRING THE LINES OF MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY—SOMETHING THAT’S NOT NEW OR REVOLUTIONARY BUT SOMETHING I STILL FIND INTERESTING. IN OTHER WORDS, I DON’T THINK ANY OF US ARE 100% ONE WAY OR THE OTHER
What colors are on your palette right now?
I’M A HUGE FAN OF CERULEAN BLUE. ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. AND CADIUM RED MEDIUM HUE ARE MY GO-TO’S TO CREATE THE SKIN TONES IN MY OIL PAINTINGS. I USE SIMILAR TONES IN MY WATERCOLORS. HOWEVER, IN MY CHARCOAL DRAWINGS I’VE BEEN ADDING WHITE GOUACHE AS AN OUTLINE/BACKGROUND—A DEVICE THAT I’VE BORROWED TOO LIBERALLY PERHAPS FROM EGON SCHIELE. AS A FIGURATIVE PAINTER MYSELF, HE’S MY FAVORITE.
Well, what else you are working on that was not up in your recent show.
I AM ABOUT TO START SOME LARGER SCALE WORK—BOTH FIGURATIVE AND PORTRAITURE. I’VE NEVER WORKED WITH LARGE CANVASES AND AM EXCITED/TERRIFIED BY THE CHALLENGE OF GOING BIG.
So, tell us a little but about how you market your work?
SADLY, I’M THE WORST SELF-PROMOTER. REALLY TERRIBLE AT IT. THOUGH THERE ARE LOTS OF REASONS FOR THIS THAT I’M NOT GOING TO GOING INTO, I’M COMMITTED TO GETTING BETTER. AND TO NOT BEING SO RELUCTANT TO PUT MY WORK OUT THERE. TO ENUMERATE, THE EXHIBITION AT COLLIER WEST ANNEX WAS A BIG STEP FORWARD WITH ALL THIS AND PERSONALLY WAS A COMMERCIAL & CRITICAL SUCCESS —MORE THAN I COULD HAVE IMAGINED. IT SHOWED ME THAT MY WORK HAS AN AUDIENCE AND THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN WHAT I’M DOING. UNSURPRISINGLY, INSTAGRAM HAS BEEN AN INVALUABLE TOOL IN GETTING MY WORK OUT THERE AND RECEIVING FEEDBACK. MY NEXT STEP IS TO SET UP AN ONLINE SHOP WHERE I CAN INTRODUCE NEW WORK WITH REGULARITY.
MORE TO COME ON THAT FRONT.
What else do you want us to know about you?
IN CONCLUSION, I WOULD SURMISE THAT MY WORK IS ONLY GOING TO IMPROVE—BOTH TECHNICALLY AND EXPRESSIVELY. I WANT TO GET TO A PLACE WHERE I CAN CAPTURE AN EXPRESSION, A GESTURE OR A COLOR PALETTE THAT STAYS WITH YOU FOR DAYS AFTER SEEING IT.
To see more of Jeff’s work and glimpses into his life, visit his Instagram feed.