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Monica Lee

Monica Lee

Meet photorealism artist from Kuala Lumpur, Monica Lee.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a photorealism artist and I have been drawing for about 5 years now. My favourite subject to draw is wildlife and portraiture. I love black and white photographs. Therefore, I use only charcoal and graphite pencils only. Nothing beats getting your hands dirty while drawing with a pencil.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Kuala Lumpur is a busy city and a friendly place to stay. But it really doesn’t affect me as I spend most of my time drawing at home, usually an average of 13 hours a day.

 

Kuala Lumpur is a busy city and a friendly place to stay. But it really doesn’t affect me as I spend most of my time drawing at home, usually an average of 13 hours a day.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?
The best thing is the delicious local food and the culture.
The worst thing is safety. You always have to be very alert when you’re out of your house, walking on the streets and even in your car.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Limited, supportive, appreciated

 

How did you start your career in art?
Ever since I was a child, I loved to draw and wanted to become an artist. I attended a local art college and majored in 3D animation. To be honest, I was really bad at drawing. Therefore, I did not pursue a career in art. Instead, I worked as a digital imaging artist in my dad’s advertising photography studio for 12 years. In 2013, I came across some artworks on Instagram, and I was so inspired by it that I started drawing again just for fun. I realized that I still love to draw. So, I quit my job and started my journey as a full-time artist.

 

In 2013, I came across some artworks on Instagram, and I was so inspired by it that I started drawing again just for fun. I realized that I still love to draw.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

My parents were very supportive. Even when I eventually decided to quit my job to become a full-time artist, they supported my decision. What held me back initially was myself. The biggest challenge was during the early stage of being an artist. Wandering whether your work will be good enough or will I be as good as other great artists out there. I felt I had the passion but lacked talent.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?
I would like to create a few series of cultural theme drawings. Currently, I’m working on a Chinese opera series which is a bit more challenging and time-consuming. I am hoping to do a life-size figure drawing of it. Also, I wish to have more exhibitions in the future both locally and internationally.

 

I would like to create a few series of cultural theme drawings.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Greg Beecham, a wildlife artist.

 

How would you describe the women around you?
Artistic. I guess art runs in the family – my mom is into arts and crafts, and my siblings include a pastry chef and a photographer.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

Unfortunately, no. As I was growing up, the internet wasn’t very accessible at that time. And I wasn’t really into the local art scene as I was growing up.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?
Not that I can think of. Your work will speak for itself. As long as you work hard to produce good work, people will respect you for it.

 

Your work will speak for itself. As long as you work hard to produce good work, people will respect you for it.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

What I’ve learned from my experience is don’t let anyone, especially yourself, tell you that you are not good enough. Follow your passion and work hard for it. All of us have the ability to achieve our dreams.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Monica Lee.

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