Maia Ruth Lee


Maia was born in Busan, South Korea and grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal.
As an artist she exhibited her art in New York, Los Angeles, and Montreal; Maia was also a Director  at the nonprofit after school art program
Wide Rainbow(2016-2020) and a mother to her son Nima.

Morning routine:
I wake up around 630-7am and start the day with getting Nima prepared for school. I pack his lunch, get him dressed, feed him breakfast and brush out his hair. Usually when I leave to drive him to school I forget to wash my face or look at myself in the mirror.

How you stay productive:
Productivity can be a tricky concept, because so often we attach the concept of value to ‘productivity’. Sometimes I can stay inspired and active, but it’s hard for me to get going sometimes too. I think they are both okay.

Self care tips: 
I’m lucky because there are a lot of healers where I live now. Body workers as well as spiritual healers are considered essential workers and I have found a good circle of people I can rely on when the going gets tough.

How you balance motherhood and Art making : 
Since the beginning of the pandemic until a month ago I didn’t make a single drawing. I didn’t want to make anything because I was settling our family into new homes and cities. (We’ve moved 3 times since March) Once I got a studio I’m back at creating and finding a good balance, but to be honest, the answer for me is my husband Peter, he doesn’t get enough credit. We share the responsibilities in a healthy way - we support each other if one of us need to work, and Peter always steps in when I get busy.

Your  creative process :
I’m inspired by many things, but a lot of the inspiration comes from tapping into my spirituality and the unknown. I communicate with my best friend who passed 2 years ago with the help of a medium, and together we have collaborated, one of which was for the Whitney Biennial in 2019. I know it sounds really trippy, but it has been one of the most serene, peaceful and grounding process’ I’ve ever experienced with my work, and it has expanded my understanding of the world we live in, and makes me feel close to the friend I lost in this life.

People that inspire you:
The younger generation and My son Nima.

Your most recent work:
I’m working on a series of paintings and installations for an upcoming show in February. (Details TBA!)

Advice to the younger generation :
Be part of the root of the tree, work from the ground up, build up your own language, if the foundation is strong the branches and leaves will flourish on their own.  

Send a picture of your workplace:

Movie / documentary:
13thAct of Killing
The Favourite

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture by Anaïs Duplan
On Earth we are briefly gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Picture books (Children’s books) by BIPOC writers/artists

Podcast: Audiobooks

Clothing brand:Thrift always and forever! (not a brand)

Jewellery :Thrift, especially secondhand silver and gold

Thank you for reading love uuu

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