Ren Lee Art


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I am a lifelong student of biology, ecology, art, psychology, and advertising. I grew up in south Texas, very close to the Rio Grande River and my cultural influences are heavily hispanic. I studied biology and art in college and worked as a creative director in Corporate America. These days I'm balancing my karma happily working in ceramics. My clay figures are inspired by idea that all creatures are spirit figures and my inspiration is drawn from my own history and personal experience. American animals, Northern European mythology, and universal origin myths are my hunting grounds.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I am inspired by primitive and tribal art, dreams and iconography. With each piece I make, I try to capture a sense of spirit, of attitude, and being On The Job. I want each piece to carry the impression of my hand, and be clearly and emphatically Handmade. There is something about creating an animal or spirit figure a la prima that renders it almost alive, and I hope that it will delight the eye and comfort the soul while being used, part of everyday life, and still be artful.

    A: As much as I loved working in the 2D world of corporate design, I believe there is something spiritually compelling about clay, about having your hands in what is essentially earth and water, and making something useful or living out of that. It is a legendary occupation, and one that resonates with origin myths about how man came into existence, and the breathing of life into your creation.

    A: People who collect my work frequently tell me it speaks to them, or they have conversations with it. This makes me insanely happy to hear, because I speak to my work as it is created as a matter of habit, and it often speaks back, and there are times when it's clear that the clay is smarter than I am!

    A: To make a ceramic sculpture is to dance with earth, fire, water and air. The clay is earth and water, the kiln employs fire and air. Sometimes there are more elements in the kiln that just air, like salt, wood, and ash, but it is totally elemental. These elements combining in different ways are the mysteries of alchemy and the science of inorganic chemistry, and there are microcosmic locations, currents, and relationships in the kiln that often result in surprises, wonder, delight, and despair. I never start a kiln without a prayer to the powers that be.

    A: My parents, Bill the architect and Beverly the art director; my high school teacher Pat who launched me into graphic design; my college art instructors Jon Anderson and Glenn Edwards; my earliest employers, Don and Chikako Weller; Nike of Samothrace; Picasso, Marc Chagall, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Mayan Iconography, Thomas Hart Benton, MesoAmerican ceramics, my hypnotherapist, Coletta Long, my claymates Nan Mattos, Mark Tunison, Steve Biernes, and Jeanie Keyser.

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