Art Beat: The art of creating connections
Building connections is an ongoing theme in all that Honore Lee creates and does. As an artist and a teacher, she seeks connections in the classroom and with her audience. Through her art, she also seeks connection with her ancestral past, and with her future.
“I think sometimes it is really evident and obvious, and other times more suggested and subtle, but the body of work that I did, a KADI grant-funded project, was my way of connecting my past to my present,” says Lee. “I was really interested in investigating my ancestral history.”
Lee titled the project After Image. She had inherited family photo albums dating from the 19th century to the 1960s. She studied various techniques of transferring photographic images to surfaces using book arts and printmaking.
“I reproduced all these images,” says Lee. “They are on beautiful Japanese paper. Some of them are kind of faded, some are more saturated. I love the variety. I ended up with hundreds of these, and I thought, okay, what I am going to do with these? What’s next? What more can this be?”
The results became handmade books, collages, repeated sequences of images, and other kinds of iterations. Lee gifted family members the books she created, including a book of poetry that she had found, written by her great-grandfather.
“That book was very special,” she says. “It was hardbound and had different images in it as well.”
If initially a bit nervous about cutting up the old family photos, Lee found that her family was receptive and pleased with what she created with the images, sharing them not only with family but also with the public as a result.
Lee grew up in Michigan where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from at Western Michigan University in 1994. She has worked as a coordinator for the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts’ ARTReach program and has taught art at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, at the Oxbow School of Art, art history at Muskegon Community College, and at other schools in Kalamazoo and Vicksburg. Her work has been shown in galleries throughout the U.S. and is included in numerous collections. Lee enjoys working with other artists on projects, building connections between painters, printmakers, writers, and others on collaborative projects.