Hot Fuzz / Haejin Lee
Photography Sam Crawford Stylist Krystle DeMauro Make up Mariko Arai
As we enter the third year of life altered globally by the pandemic, there has been a shift to imperative gratitude in how we interact with each other in relationships, as well as how we move through our planet. In this series we speak to model Haejin Lee about her desperation for interaction and comfort, and her creative response to fill those voids during these times.
Haejin was born in Busan, South Korea, and grew up in Shanghai. She moved to New York 9 years ago, and anyone who has had the pleasure in working with her knows she has enough energy to power a city. A veteran of painter Julie Mehretu’s studio, Haejin has been creating and experimenting with mixed media since she was a child. She sought support within the art community in both the sharing of ideas as well as opportunities that afforded her life in the city as an artist. As life as we knew it halted at the beginning of 2020, Haejin created a series of work through the search for comfort. This translated to a pile of cuddly characters made out of cozy fabrics, titled Fuzz Dudes. She says “These affable blob-like characters create an emotional space in which the user can be free to craft their unique bond with their fuzzy friend however they please.”
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice?
I am a multi-disciplinary artist with printmaking background. Most time my creative process starts from line drawings that contains abstracted figure like characters and gets translated into life forms through materials that represents the most accurate texture and surfaces of my visual Imaginary world.
We’ve all suffered from extended confinement over the past few years. How does your creative space impact your work?
Since my work is based on my visual imagination, my surroundings has to provide me peace of mind where I feel inspired to begin drawing my thoughts down. It’s almost like I can’t clean up too much or keep it too boring. The space consistently needs to be moved around with flow of energy and always requires some sort of excitement or spark of interest. I like to do that by bringing in different books or artefacts I attract towards.
How important is the theme of ‘play’ within your art practice?
My art practice is basically me playing in my studio with my toys that often varies from a pencil to a sewing machine to paper pulps. I wish the spirit comes thru to the audiences.
What inspired the Fuzz Dudes?
Fuzz Dudes were born during the beginning of pandemic. Creating work through the search for comfort translated to a pile of cuddly characters made out of cozy fabrics. These affable blob-like characters create an emotional space in which the users can be free to craft their unique bond with their fuzzy friend however they please.
Just as our childhood stuffed animals fulfilled so many emotional and physical necessities such as a soothing sense of security in our younger days. The name Fuzzy Dudes came from the feeling that I wish for these soft sculptures to simply serve as furry forms which offer their companionship to you.
What coming up next for you?
I’ve been working on building a website haehaeleelee.com for digital archiving purposes. You should be able to check out my drawings, prints over the years and my new paper pulp furniture projects very soon!