Artist Spotlight: Lee Heekin
How would you describe your art? My work is an exploration of the grid in its many disassembled forms. I explore the human instinct to label, categorize and compartmentalize. My disassembled grids speak to the fragmentation in our world created by these instincts and attempt to suggest a brighter outcome through the organic nature of the structure. At times I remove all imagery from my boxes to allow the viewer more room to project their own ideas into the work rather than illustrating everything for them. I make site-specific installations, wood and wax wall relief work and recently I have started to make small sculptures and paintings.
Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? Everything around me, my experiences, and my emotions influence my work. The biggest conceptual influence is probably exploring confinement and our constant struggle to balance chaos and order.
Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? Typically I begin with playful sketches reconstructing and deconstructing the grid, playing with form and composition. Once I have stained my boxes, melted and poured my wax these sketches move to the wall where I continue to play with different arrangements until everything fits together conceptually and visually.
Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? My “Porous Boundaries” piece is still the work that I am most proud of. It took me about a year to complete and spanned the width of Pratt gallery (18 feet x 6.5 feet) in Brooklyn, NY. It was the largest and hardest piece to complete but well worth the time and effort.
What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? My goals are always to make more work. I have been thinking a lot about impermanence and the inclusion of live material in my work. I would love to collaborate with a landscape architect and or florist and do an installation with plants and flowers coming out of my boxes. I would also love to do more installations in galleries and my 5 year goal would be to have enough new bodies of work to exhibit more regularly.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? Good question: I think they are one in the same. My favorite and least favorite is the emotional rollercoaster that making work sends me on. It is a very self-critical process, which can be rough but provides a lot of space for growth and learning.
Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead putting ____ on my walls? Photographs printed on canvas even if they were of my kids.
Which contemporary artists to you admire? There are so many but to name a few, Tara Donovan, Leonardo Drew and Jason Middlebrook.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? My side job is being part founder of a new group called the Boulder Creative Collective along with Addrienne Amato and Kelly Cope Russack. We started the BCC to cultivate art and ideas through pop-up art shows in Boulder. Our goal was to connect artists and art lovers in a scene that we didn’t feel existed in our worlds and we were really missing that type of interaction. I love visiting other artist’s studios, meeting new artists and seeing incredible hand made work throughout the Boulder area.
In a fantasy world where ALL of the world’s art was available and price was no issue, what piece would you like to own? Oh that’s a tough one, immediately Richard Sera, Kiki Smith and Degas come to mind but ultimately I would be in heaven to walk out of my house everyday and see Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” jutting into the water.