Interview: Katherine Lee
Luca Curci talks with Katherine Lee during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
I am a Chinese from Beijing, I learned Chinese Calligraphy since I was 5 years old, then I went to Tongji University in Shanghai to pursue an Engineering Bachelor’s degree, where my calligraphy work was permanently collected when I was 20. Then I successfully transferred to Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, with the first grade, for the Fine Art Master degree. Although I learned landscape design there, I showed a great passion for art and art history. Then I spend a few years working as an engineer and designer in China. In 2016, I went to Domus Academy in Milan to study Urban Design and Fashion, at the same time, travelled around Europe for two years, visited countless museums, galleries and ancient interests. My father who studies Chinese ancient prose influences me a lot since I was a little girl: I learnt traditional Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism and Taoism and how to write classical Chinese poetry from him. I am also a huge fan of sci-fiction cartoons such as Marvel. Digital art, photography and Chinese Calligraphy are my main interests. The study and travel experiences in Europe helps me a lot when I start to pursue my artistic career.
Luca Curci – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
Katherine Lee – First the inspiration is from the outside: the vision, the touching point or the attractive or beautiful view, then something happened and my inner core was triggered, I could map my thoughts and world view into the nature which is captured by the camera lens and edited by the computer.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
KL – I regarded photos as part of my creating process when I was a designer, also photography could help me to show my thoughts and aesthetics directly. Like most other photographers, I think light, theme and good composition are the crucial elements to make a good photo. However, when I begin making digital art, all things seem changed and the recognized principles are not important anymore. I do not know the boundaries or rules of digital art, and that is totally a new magical field, which attracts me to become a professional digital artist. And for now, my work is focusing on the flowers and other plants, the relationships of flowers and females, the possible symbolic meanings of flowers in the metaverse.
LC – How much is the editing process important? How’s yours?
KL – As a digital artist and huge fan of technology, I think the recreating process is very important, or just like opening another door for my vision and creations. I am a supporter of AI, which could help artists fasten the process of creating, add dimensions of work’s meanings and layouts, just like my work exhibited here, which is a great challenge for me to show the possibilities of the recognition from the classical art world.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
KL – My style changed a lot comparing to my 20s. My previous photography work is deeply influenced by traditional Chinese aesthetics and Taoism – try to create work with the least embellishment or editing, to pursue mild and natural aesthetics, and to be simple. Thanks to my designer career, I have created digital work as interest for the last 10 years, and I use bold colors and strong contrasts here. With the rising of metaverse and NFTs, my focus transfer to the relationships of metaverse and nature, traditional media (canvas, paper, metals) and new ones (screen, LED, Web 3.0) – in my opinion, we should create different works for different media and themes, such as the harmony between digital world and nature, crypto social work, link and real life.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
KL – Over 20 years of professional experience in the international art market, your exhibition’s concept could guide us, artists, to know the trends or focus of the art world. Such as from this time’s concept, inspires me to explore the relations of identities and human’s complexity. People are now simply symbolized into labels and options, and that is why the IP culture is becoming more and more popular – such as Cryptopunks and BAYC in the metaverse.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
KL – My work “BUBBLES” is a metaphor for this phenomenon – crypto citizens are just like floating numbered and specialized bubbles (portraits), they are created by the outside media not by the inside themselves, to survive or develop in such an environment, should each of us change our portraits to such ones like BAYC? That is an open subject and I hope more artists and art workers could devote themselves to this affair.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
KL – This is my first time applying for an exhibition worldwide, with the help of Director Luca and ITSLIQUID GROUP, I am happy and grateful to be selected. Also, Venice is my favorite place that I had visited many times. As a new one in this field, I think your platform really helps me a lot on online and offline publicity of my thoughts and work, which gives me more opportunities and choices for future exhibitions and art events.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
KL – Not only a digital artist but also a candidate of MBA at Yale and Berkeley, I show great interest in the organization of the event. We artists need such high efficient and well-targeted events to connect the work to the market, the advisor, collectors, which could help us find the balance of market value and academic value.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
KL – I would like to know more about your group and service, and really happy to have further connections and cooperation with you if possible in the future, thanks a lot.