Artist Interview - Kay Lee

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Kendra but most know me as Kay Lee. I was born and raised in Washington, DC. I graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with honors, a BA in Administration of Justice, and a A.A in Liberal Arts. I attended Trinity Washington University, where I received an MSA in Business Administration. Over the years, I have excelled with the Federal Government and currently thrive in the Human Resources field. I am the wife of John Lee and the mom of five.

I am a part-time visual artist, illustrator, and an artrepreneur. The owner of Kay Lee 287, LLC where I manage a fine arts business, as well as an online gift shop called Dainty Space Designs.


Why do you do what you do?

Creating tends to put me at peace. It is like a zone that is untouchable from the rest of the world. I love EVERYTHING about art; every form, every medium, and every category. The feeling I get when I create paintings and products that inspire, uplift, and mesmerize others is indescribable.


You use so many vibrant colors, do you have any that you favor?

I love colors but I gravitate towards cool colors the most at times. Different variations of blues and greens usually are a part of my palette choice.


What inspires your art?

I am inspired by everything around me. Nature, other artists, current events, various forms of women. I always feel like I produce my best illustration or picture when my emotions are involved.


How and when did you get into art?

I started doodling when I was a kid. My dad was into art, but over time lost his passion for it. Somehow, I picked it up. It was an outlet for me when I was a kid and a teen. When the world did not seem right, art always did.


How has your practice changed over time?

Art was always just a hobby until 2019 when I decided to dedicate more time to my passion and to be more consistent with my art. After a few months, Kay Lee 287, LLC was created, and I was taking on commissions and producing artwork regularly. It was the best decision I have ever made.


What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?

My favorite piece of art would have to be Longing for Iris and The Man. Both of these pieces were created on Strathmore Mix Media paper with watercolors. They came out better than I ever could have imagined and have been used in various products from my Collector’s Edition candles to my Greeting Cards.


What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?

Don’t underestimate or undervalue your talent. Everyone may not like your work and that is okay. There is someone, somewhere, that believes your work is amazing.


What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?

A lot of my sketches can be used for various projects or altered a bit. Strathmore tracing paper has been an amazing asset in making these adjustments. I have a filed folder where I keep some of the images I traced to use later with other projects.


Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?

If I feel I made a mistake, I may walk away from the piece and come back to it. This tends to help me know if there is another direction, I can take the piece.


What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?

This is a tough question since I tend to use so many different kinds, but I would have to say the 300 Series Palette Paper. It comes in handy when I am in my studio or forced to move my artwork to a different part of my home. It is an easy clean-up as well, which comes in handy when you have a toddler running around and you need to wrap up an art session quickly.


What art materials could you not live without?

A pen, pencil, acrylic paint, Strathmore Mixed Media Journal and the Strathmore Acrylic Paper.


What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?

Teal, blues, and greens speak to me. They remind me of water and I find water to be really peaceful.


Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?

When I started I didn’t have any big influences. I’ve been indulging in art for over 20 years and it wasn’t until last year that I really started looking at other artists and other forms of art. Some of the more modern influences that I enjoy observing or learning from are Peter Terrin, PinkLomein, AddieRawr, Pastel Rae, Nikkey the Creative, Raheim Milton, and Ashley Nora Art.


What’s the most common art-related question you get from your followers?

Am I self-taught or did I go to art school? I am a self-taught artist. I went to the Art Institute of Washington for less than a year and had to leave in order to work full-time and prepare to be a mom. I used to feel like this put me behind the curve in the art field but now, I just feel like there are so many more great things to research and learn.


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