Jivan Lee

Exploring Large Scale Paintings: An Interview with Artist, Jivan Lee

Exploring Large Scale paintings: an interview with artist, jivan lee

Have you ever stood in awe of a large scale painting? When was the last time you felt like a painting sucked you in so totally that you could almost say you lost yourself in that painting? I love to explore and encounter the sheer magnificence that large scale paintings have to offer. Here to give us a welcome peek behind the curtain of his large scale paintings is the artist, Jivan Lee. 

Jivan Lee is an oil painter based in Taos, NM. He grew up in Woodstock, NY, and studied painting at Bard College. His work explores the nature of paint as raw material, creator of image, and catalyst for emotional response, and is increasingly addressing the complexities of how humans see and shape the environment. 

Jivan's paintings have been exhibited nationally and covered in publications such as Fine Art Connoisseur, The Denver Post, Hyperallergic, Southwest Art, Phoenix Home and Garden, Art Business News, and Two Coats of Paint among others. In addition to painting as much as time allows, Jivan occasionally teaches.

Large scale paintings

Jivan says he always gets chuckles from people when he tells them that his approach to large scale paintings doesn’t differ very much to his approach with smaller-scale paintings. Of course, the real challenge when it comes to painting these large projects is the logistics - where, when, and how become a bit more complicated on a large scale. While it might sound complicated and a bit of a nightmare, the way that Jivan describes it, the process sort of unfolded before him - as he takes each logical step at a time. Make sure to check out the images of Jivan’s artwork located at the end of this post!

Letting your light shine

I know, we are all sick and tired of hearing about how COVID has impacted and changed everything - we get it. I don’t want to dwell too much on how much COVID continues to impact the shape of things in the art community but I thought it was really helpful to get Jivan’s perspective. Many of us find ourselves with a ton of emotions and anxieties around our finances, the state of global and national politics, and of course COVID. Jivan was kind enough to open up about some of the personal struggles he has experienced over the last couple of months. He shared that when he takes the time to get alone with his canvas, it allows for emotional catharsis. I have felt that way too when it comes to painting during COVID - don’t want to let my light fade, I have something to share with the world and so do you!

Creating art is a marathon, not a sprint 

As Jivan encourages us to keep shining our light even when the darkness feels like it’s closing in, it’s good to also keep in mind that the creative process is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to do your best work now or consistently - just stay at it. Even when it gets challenging, remember, we need your voice. I get it, sometimes it feels like you just want to throw in the towel but every artist that I’ve talked to over the years have told me that staying in the game is worth it. What keeps you in the game? How do you stay motivated when times get tough? I want to hear from you, make sure to leave a comment! 

Outline of this episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Jivan Lee. 
  • [2:45] What led Jivan to his career as an artist? 
  • [8:30] Jivan talks about why he pursued grants as he got started. 
  • [10:45] Getting students engaged with art. 
  • [15:50] What is the point of painting during a time of crisis. 
  • [29:30] Jivan opens up about his solo exhibit, “Dynamics of change.” 
  • [40:15] How COVID has impacted Jivan’s schedule. 
  • [44:30] Why you need to think of your creative journey as a marathon, not a sprint. 
  • [52:00] Jivan explains his process in the studio when it comes to large scale projects. 
  • [1:04:00] Common tools and materials that Jivan uses.
  • [1:12:00] Closing thoughts. 
  • other artists mentioned in this episode

  • Mark Rothko
  • Kara Walker
  • Resources Mentioned in this episode 

  • Website: www.jivanlee.com
  • Instagram: www.instagram.com/jivanlee_art/
  • Solo Exhibition: “Dynamics of change” at LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe August 14th - Sept. 19th, 2020 40+ paintings, some pieces as big as 10 feet tall, many in the 48x72” range.
  • The Moth Podcast
  • Paintings:

    30” x 100” | oil on three panels

    60" x 80" | oil on two panels

    72" x 48" | oil on panel

    84" x 64" asymmetric quadriptych | oil on panel

    36” x 250” | oil on panel | private collection

    30” x 36” | oil on panel


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