When Jieun Lee and a group of her friends traveled to Australia last year, the Suwon-based illustrator took the opportunity to paint the “good and warm” urban landscapes she vividly remembers. “These are the places where I fell in love with traveling," she tells It’s Nice That. Photographing a bank imagery that signify these feelings, Jieun then started painting from these photographs once she was back in Korea, adding a dash of Hockney’s colour palette to the charming paintings.
“I usually start painting with pictures from my photo album," says Jieun on her process. While she refers to photography for perspective and much of her composition, Jieun only draws what she wants, removing some objects captured through the camera’s lens and also changing the colours at will. “The more you draw, the more you can add or take away certain elements on a piece of paper," adds the illustrator on her intricately refined works.
Jieun originally studied metalwork and textiles at university while consistently painting throughout her degree. Since childhood, “painting has been a part of me and my everyday living," says Jieun, and as her degree went on, she realised her preference for the painterly art rather than physical process of making objects. Gradually uploading images of her drawings and paintings on Instagram over the years, Jieun slowly began to take note of a compulsive feeling that was telling her: “I should become an illustrator.”
Since then, Jieun’s continued to paint her colourful depictions while running a design brand Leegoc, which creates a variety of products based on her drawings. While her immediate goal is to produce a book of illustrations this year, the illustrator’s ultimate goal is to make a living from her paintings one day (a goal that is not dissimilar from the majority of part-time artists wishing they could spend more time on their work).
As she steadily works towards achieving these objectives, in the meantime Jieun is working towards showcasing a number of paintings for a new exhibition at Galleria Faire Seoul Forest based on Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables. Opening this June, Jieun offers us a sneak peak into the work she will be exhibiting: “I’m painting a picture of the room that Anne imagines she’s in,” says Jieun. “I feel happy to think that these paintings (which are a collaboration between my imagination and Anne’s imagination) will be hung, and appreciated in an exhibition hall.” On the other hand, we can appreciate Jieun’s scenes from Australia right here.
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