VenusMansion: There are no standards of aesthetics

Korean artist Lee Sol has become well known for his Instagram account Venus Mansion where he shares his contemporary renaissance inspired digital artworks. The vividness of the colours he uses and the vibrant environment he creates are both ‘mind blowing’ and awe inspiring for the viewer. Venus Mansion successfully brings together the feel of old masters motifs mixed with accents of today’s modern life.

We had the pleasure of featuring Lee’s work on the cover of our first issue and we were delighted to learn about his art practice and more in the interview below. Enjoy!

AMM: Hi Lee, could you give us a glimpse into your background? How did you find your way into a creative life?

LS: Hello ArtMaze! As a child, I very much enjoyed capturing daily events in forms of drawings. Through this practice, I was exposed to drawing naturally. I majored in Interior Design at an Arts University, and worked for an Interior Design Studio for two years after graduation. It was quite tough to express my personal emotions by designing commercial spaces, and therefore opened my own art practice.

AMM: Why Venus Mansion?

LS: To be honest, there is no particular meaning or special story behind it. At the time I needed words that could express my art practice of random objects and spaces. I chose the word ‘Venus’ as a description of either an object of desire or emotion, and I chose the word ‘Mansion’ in order to describe space, which evolved into ‘Venus Mansion’. It is just the theme of my art practice.

AMM: You mainly work with digital art. What do you love about this medium? Did you ever consider working with other mediums, for example sculpture?

LS: I normally set up with detailed planning on paper or canvas at first, and mainly focus on the depiction and detailed expression. But by doing so, I found myself being flooded with too many thoughts during sketching, so I decided to utilize graphic programs, which make it easier to modify features as necessary.

A big draw of digital art is that it applies a variety of different colors and spaces into objects, and by using this method I can directly express the images in my head.

However, in the future, I am not opposed to expressing my personal stories through real sculptures or by using actual space;  I am actually planning on doing so.

AMM: You are creating 3D rendered images, which burst with delicious saturated colors and showcase old masters’ motifs mixed with objects from every day modern life. What is your inspiration for such a bright palette and what is the meaning behind your contemporary renaissance compositions?

LS: We can infer an object’s space and function without direct experiences. Generally, we tie various colors and objects together that come from emotions because general art practices are normally based on personal thoughts. In a way, I wonder whether my bright palettes are inspired by a diverse range of emotions.

Using contemporary renaissance compositions in my art work, is just a means to express my personal emotions.

AMM: How does each piece come to life? Do you work on sketches from your own imagination or use photographic references to construct each image?

LS: I normally take notes, or do a sketch about forgotten emotions or lost memories from everyday life, such as having conversations with friends, watching movies and seeing exhibitions. Sometimes I just start making art without any particular thoughts or emotions.

AMM: Would you consider yourself as a surrealist?

LS: To be honest, I do not want to bind myself to a single category.

AMM: Instagram is one of the key platforms where you prefer to showcase your work online. What is your opinion about the role of social media in the art world today?

LS: Social media in the current art market suggests a new direction, where people can indirectly experience an artist’s works with their mobile devices, instead of seeing it in person.

When a piece of art, capable of changing people’s minds, is garnering fast attention through social media sites, I strongly believe that it is an artist’s duty to get the message across by any means necessary.

AMM: How would you say living and working in South Korea has influenced your work? Do you travel often?

LS: Actually, what had the biggest influence on my work here in Korea is my small one room apartment, which is very similar in size to the place I lived in during my college years. Spending countless hours in this tiny space allowed me to explore bigger open spaces in my mind, which ended up in my own art practice where I could openly express my emotions.

I wish that I could have traveled to many places, but I am sad to say that the only country I was able to visit was the Philippines in my early 20’s.

AMM: Can you describe your aesthetics in just one word or a phrase?

LS: There are no standards of aesthetics.

AMM: What are you dreaming of?

LS: I am dreaming of time travel today.

AMM: If you weren’t an artist, who would you be?

LS: I do not think of myself as an artist. If I had a good voice, I would want to be a singer who touches people’s hearts.

AMM: What exciting projects are you are working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?

LS: I am thinking of having an exhibition this year, and this exhibition will embody the entire artworks of ‘Venus Mansion’.

I am planning on allowing my work to evolve from 2D print media to actual sculptures and space installations where I will continue to express my range of emotions by using different mediums.


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