Interview: Korean Artist Minjae Lee

minjea lee, greno89 01

I promised you guys an interview with an inspirational artist, so here you have it. His name is Minjae Lee and he lives in Korea.

I found him while browsing DeviantArt, yes again with the DeviantArt. It really is a great place to find unique (amateur) artists. A great deal of them got the acknowledgement they deserved and even landed a job at an A-list company.

Precilla: So tell us a bit about yourself?

Minjae Lee: My name is Minjae Lee, a.k.a Greno. I was born on January 11th 1989. And ladies, i’m single ):

I started drawing around the age of three. I never thought that this was going to be my job. I always wanted to be a painter, but after I graduated from high school, the only thing I wanted to do was draw.

Precilla: How was it growing up in Korea?

Minjae Lee: Growing up in Korea isn’t so great, especially for people who want to be an artist.

At the age of nine, every Korean child has to study “sooneong”. In order to enroll in the University, you have to take this exam. Think of it as a SAT test.
Many students lose their creativity, because there is no outlet. I didn’t want to lose such a valuable thing, so I decided to not attend the University. I just couldn’t do it – my creativity is to dear to me. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision, I was very insecure about the future. But now I know, it was the right thing to do.

Precilla: Do you come from an artistic family?

Minjae Lee: Uhm.. kind of. My mother has a major in cello and piano. But the rest of my family isn’t artistic at all.

Precilla: Who inspired you to start creating art?
Minjae Lee: When I was 17 years old, I met someone who drew cartoons. And it just looked fun to do. So I started drawing people and I got hooked since then.
Precilla: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Minjae Lee: I get my inspiration from everything every beautiful object and color. I love abstract images and forms.There are so many beautiful art pieces, but not many really grab me. I’m more in to the natural form of art.

Precilla: I was wondering, how does the artistic culture in Korea look like?

Minjae Lee: There isn’t much of an artistic scene in Korea. But we do have many young graffiti artists and game illustrators.

precilla: Do you connect with local artists? if so, tell us a bit more about that.

Minjae Lee: No, it’s seriously a problem. There aren’t that many places for artists to meet and share their creativity. The only two places are through school or on-line.

It’s sucks, because I’ve never gone to the University. So the only few artists I know, I met on the web.

Precilla: When you start to work on a piece, do you have some sort of ritual before you begin?

Minjae Lee: Yep, I form an outline in my head. But that’s only like a 5% outline. I just use what’s comes up right then and there and let it happen.

Precilla: How long does it usually take to finish a piece?

Minjae Lee: My biggest piece was “Dace I”. It’s 100cm x 100cm x 10cm , canvas.
Usually It takes about 3-15 days for an A3 Marker work. But for acrylic, like Dace I, it takes about 2 week – 1 month to finish.

Precilla: You use a lot of women in your work, is there any particular reason for that?

Minjae lee: I like to capture the woman’s face, because they are so emotional. My work needs to express a strong feeling. You need to feel the love, pain or excitement. I present those feelings with lots of colors.

Precilla: You also work with a lot of blue and yellow. Why is that?

Minjae lee: I feel very comfortable with blue tones. It gives some deepness in my artwork. But I can’t always use a lot of blue, so I need to balance it with another color. And yellow is a very well-balanced color. But I don’t always intentionally use yellow.

Precilla: Can you describe to us why you think your art work stand out from the crowd?

Minjae Lee: When I started to draw, I tried to make everything as eye-catching as possible. But people these days are slowly forgetting the inspirational meaning behind art. So now I’m trying to impact people with my artwork. I’m trying to do that with traditional artworks.

Precilla: Last but not least, where do you see yourself in ten years?

Minjae Lee: All I want to do is make “perfect” pieces. I have so many cool images in my head, but when I draw them on canvas, they don’t turn out as I expected. So I need to work on my technique.


Found & Editor-in-chief of Fashion Art Expression | Freelance Fashion Writer |

5 comments
Angelina Bong
Angelina Bong

I'm a fashion lecturer. He's got great skills. Would love to see more of his stuffs ;)

Krista
Krista

Only as of yesterday, I started to follow this artist on dA. I was so glad to stumble upon him, and with such great timing, given your interview. Thank you *so* much for taking the time to share a bit of insight on such a talented new artist!

Cindy
Cindy

Great interview! He has some fantastic work! x

fashionart
fashionart

Thank you! Yes, he really is a talented artist.

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  1. [...] on 6 Jan ’12 by Precilla Sedney Last year we had the chance to talk to Minjae Lee, who became one of our favorite artists. He truly is a talented person. The fact that he is still [...]

  2. Writing for Designers › Korea’s got talent! Three Korean artists to watch. says:

    [...] Here is an interview with Minjae Lee: http://fashion-artexpression.com/interview-korean-artist-minjae-lee/ [...]