Pat Lee was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and raised in New York City. He is the son of painter Long Looi Lee, and spent his childhood drawing, and sculpting in the studio alongside his father.
Together with wife and fellow artist Veronica Casares Lee, Pat moved to Patzcuaro, Mexico in 2006. The couple spent nine years in Mexico honing their craft, raising, and enjoying their two children, planting trees, and building an Artist Residency, home, and studio on three acres with a view of lake Patzcuaro.
Pat is a self-taught sculptor whose work is narrative driven and often deals with the human condition.
Pat and his family live in New Orleans, LA. Along with wife Veronica Casares Lee and fellow artist Gerald Haessig, Pat has founded Clay Born New Orleans. Clay Born allows the members to pool resources, talents, and knowledge, across mediums to tackle larger scale projects, and offer free classes for our community.
I have a cartoonist sensibility. There tends to be humorous elements in my work regardless of the subject matter. I often depict animals in my work because of the obvious archetypes they represent. I’m especially fond of the rooster: to me he seems the best representation of masculine folly.
My work focuses mostly on the human condition, and our social conditioning. I’m fascinated by our contradictory impulses, our egos, our ideologies, and the lengths we will go to defend them. The question of how we maneuver a technology that is growing exponentially with what is essentially still a hunter/gatherer brain is also interesting. What are we as a race going to evolve into? These are some of the musings that have found their way into my head and my work, and I look forward to exploring these and other topics further.
I work primarily in clay, but have also used resin, fiberglass, wood, and metal. I rarely start a piece without some idea of what I want to achieve. Depending on the complexity of the sculpture, I’ll make multiple sketches from different angles to establish a very general guideline, and work out structural/aesthetic issues. I use clay slabs for my figurative ceramic sculpture. I’ll usually start with the head, hands, and feet, modeling each separately as individual sculptures. This allows me to focus on each appendage’s gestural, and emotional possibility. Often, one of these parts will dictate the overall posture and mood of the whole sculpture. Once all the appendages are attached, I’II use a variety of rubs, commercial glazes, oil paints, and resins to finish the work.
I have lately been considering my social responsibility as an artist. As the father of a tween and a young adult I am conscious of what they consume in every sense of the word. Their storytellers, their entertainers and in a great part the shaper of their value systems are some of the best artists across different media. Unfortunately they may not have our children’s best interest at heart. For my small part I aspire to tell a tale that does.