Il Lee is best known for his ballpoint pen artwork; large-scale abstract imagery on paper and canvas.He also creates artwork in a similar vein utilizing acrylic and oil paint on canvas. Lee, born in 1952, is a Korean painter who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.Lee received his B.F.A. (painting) in 1976 from Hongik University, a Korean school said to be “Western oriented.” He then moved to America; first to Los Angeles, then to New York, where he earned his M.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in 1982. He studied etching as his minor at Pratt, and the sharp needles became a preferred tool. The sharpness of its line interested him enough to continue pursuing it through other avenues.
The earlier works were all drawn on paper, but Lee soon began to work on large, primed canvases.The artist spends weeks, sometimes months, applying layer upon layer of ink to each artwork.Linework is built-up through a “scribbling” technique reliant upon the “speed, spin, and angle” of his pen in repetitive motions, sometimes becoming so dense that the line-work becomes a flat field of ink.The thicker layers can appear coagulated on the surface of the paper or canvas, with the dried ballpoint ink giving off a shiny purplish-blue hue.When working with paint on canvas Lee utilizes empty pen casings and other tools such as bamboo sticks, scribbling in the same gestural manner onto a wet surface layer to reveal colors underneath — an inversion of his ballpoint method.
More of Il Lee‘s distinctive artwork can be found at https://artprojects.com/il-lee/il-lee-ballpoint-pen-on-paper/.