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Art & Life with Bonnie Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bonnie Lee.

Bonnie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was an elementary teacher for almost twelve years. A few years ago, I decided to take a sabbatical for one year to attend ArtCenter College of Design. One year turned into three. I received my second undergraduate degree in Illustration. I went back to teaching but more in the visual arts. I received a grant from ArtCenter/Venture Well to develop a curriculum in 3D printing. For the past year or so, I was teaching at Gabriella Charter School, finding ways to connect art and technology. While I enjoy teaching, I love the creative community that is ArtCenter and returned to my Alma mater. Currently, I am the coordinator of the Illustration Department. I love helping people. Being in a community and interacting with others fuel me as an artist and illustrator.

Please tell us about your art.
For me, there is no division between life and art. My work is a form of gift-giving. It reminds me of a social studies practice that I learned in high school. North American Indians practiced a ritual called Potlatch, where each party attempted to give a gift hoping to outdo the other. In my art, I try to do the same, giving others the best.

Ideally, art-making to me is spending time with people. I want to do the best for someone else. When I was younger, it was drawing a picture of others, serving cookies to them. Later, as a graduate student, through performance art, I shared personal stories that were honest and direct. As a teacher and now coordinator, I do my best to show the students the directions and let them choose their way.

My project below was about creating a line of products for a Scottish Terrier through Surface Design. We spent time with the puppy. We drew him, Toby. I immersed myself in the project; baking dog treats from scratch. Since it was an Old Hawaiian theme, I ate papaya and tropical fruits for inspiration.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
Success is about being honest with oneself. It is about setting your own rules and following through with them.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
WomenCinemaker 2018 Biennial, Official Selection in Animation

Funsized POP UP, Leimin Space2017, Chinatown Galleries, Los Angeles

Broadcast Group Exhibition 2016, Keystone Gallery, Los Angeles

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Art Gray Photography

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