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Hyein Lee

Hyein is an engineer turned illustrator and motion graphics designer. She gave up her big fat paycheque to pursue her dream; she is poor now, but somehow a lot happier. Her work is populated by lonesome, humble and friendly monsters which depict melancholy moments with cuddly-toy appeal. Autobiographical in content, these intimate diary-like paintings are often a direct translation of the artist's feeling.

She was born in Korea and came to Canada when she was 14. She now lives in her favourite city, Toronto.

Artistic Statement

I do not want to grow up. All I want to paint are monsters, aliens and robots. While painting them, I escape to a sci-fi world. My cartoonish monsters convince me that everything is okay, and that one day, I will make a living painting them.

It is hard to detach myself from childhood cartoon images. Growing up, everything I owned had cartoon characters on it - forks, handkerchiefs, blankets, etc.. When I asked my mom why she surrounded me with these characters, she said, "Because they look so friendly." Simple faces like cartoon characters are friendly because they make it easier for us to project ourselves onto them. My characters have simple faces, often consisting of dots and lines. They invite you to leave daily burdens at the door, be one of the monsters, and explore the childish fantasy world we've forgotten. Please hang out with my friendly monsters.



Artist Website


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