Growing up in São Paulo, Brazil with South Korean roots, studying abroad, and transitioning from city life to rural New York has definitely influenced my work. My approach evolves year by year. I work intuitively, letting clay, surroundings, and everything collaborate in shaping my art. Over time, my work has grown in scale, despite earlier reservations. More living space influenced this shift, and my deeper connection with nature has inspired explorations in organic forms and ancestral outdoor firing techniques.
2. What has your journey been like from studying fashion design to working with sculpture?
It was a slow discovery to realize that fashion wasn’t what I was meant to do. I knew since I was a child that I’d become a fashion designer and set a path towards that goal. I am certain that if I had not gone down that route I would not be where I am right now. From designing I went to styling and when I hit a creativity wall, I paused and considered having a go at the one thing I knew I could do: draw. I decided quickly that I needed to apply my art to functional ware to have a chance in this new industry. I began by drawing directly onto commercial tableware, eventually making my own tableware and expanding to designing paper goods and home textiles. Over time, my work has evolved into sculptural art, which I consider my 'drawings.'
3. Can you tell us a little bit about your process of creation? How much does the process affect the final product?
The intuitive process greatly affects the final piece. In my current creative approach, I create multiple components and then bring them together to form the finished piece, drawing guidance from my sources of inspiration. This method applies to both slab construction and coil building techniques. Ideas have the potential to transform into something entirely different, shaped by my present mindset, conscious and subconscious connection to my environment, and the clay's behavior. I embrace unexpected mishaps as opportunities for a new creative direction.
4. Is there any particular artist or designer that has influenced your work and career?
While there isn't a particular artist or designer who has directly influenced my work and career, the architectural landscape in Brazil, especially the creations of Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi, has inevitably left a lasting impact on my creative journey. Interestingly, during my upbringing in São Paulo, I didn't consciously view the architectural designs around me as artistic expressions; they were more part of my everyday surroundings. However, as time passed, I began to appreciate the architectural elements and the historical significance of these structures, realizing how they have subtly seeped into my creative consciousness and influenced my artistic perspective.
5. Where do you go or what do you do when you’re seeking inspiration?
In my studio is where I am most inspired. As I work intuitively, inspiration comes from collected memories and current moments.
6. At Seek, we value personal style as a vehicle for creativity and self-expression. How would you describe your personal style?
I am a minimalist (love a uniform) but admire bold and strive for classic.
7. What’s the most recent piece of art you’ve felt moved or inspired by—whether a book, a film, a painting, an exhibit, etc.?
My recent visit to Casa Luis Barragán in Mexico City left a profound impact on me due to the incredible thought and care evident in its design.
8. What’s the best advice you’ve received so far and who did it come from?
Focus on one thing at a time. Advice from my friend’s father given to me decades ago.
9. Are there any projects coming up that you’re currently working on that you’re particularly excited about?
I have purposefully stopped my creative work for the remainder of this year to give me time to reflect and make more room for personal life. I'm excited to start the new year with a fresh start and a more intentional approach to my work.
10. What are you seeking more of in the new year?
In work and in my personal life, I seek to approach things more mindfully and with clear intentions.
Find Re Jin Lee's work on her website and IG: