JeeYoung Lee’s Dreamy World Within A Room

Published February 17, 2014
Updated December 30, 2021

Harnessing her dreams without the aid of Photoshop or ample studio space, JeeYoung Lee's art is a testament to the possibilities of human imagination.

Our imaginations are remarkable things. When we dream, our brains conjure up colorful cityscapes, carefully crafted characters, and even entire worlds, the likes of which can only be found in fiction. But for Korean artist JeeYoung Lee, these fictions have found their real-life home in a 3×6 meter room.

Jeeyoung Lee Art

Jeeyoung Lee Childhood

Given that Lee refuses to use Photoshop or any kind of digital trickery to produce her images, her results are rather astonishing. Occasionally drawing from Korean folk tales and fables for inspiration, Lee spends months carefully constructing each set in an attempt to shoot “the invisible”.

While her peers try to capture reality or augment it digitally, Lee aims higher, harnessing her dreams and memories through a tumbling medium of plastics, fabrics, and vibrant paints.

Childhood memories become tangible scenes in her studio, as Lee can be seen hunting for crickets in the back garden, among other life-sized dioramas.

While JeeYoung Lee’s scant studio space might seem a creative barrier to some, in her eyes it’s a source of inspiration. When the pictures are perfect, she slots herself into the makeshift worlds, but never face on; this leaves the viewer with a similar degree of mystery experienced in dreams.

Jeeyoung Lee Mice

It is her attention to even the most minute details that has gained JeeYoung Lee worldwide recognition and saw her awarded the Sovereign Art Prize in 2012 for up-and-coming talent.

She has even turned her hand to re-imagining the likes of Shakespeare’s Ophelia in photographic form. Lee’s spectacular “State of Mind” collection can be found online here.

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Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.