Growing up in the United States the son of immigrant Korean parents, I am often situated between cultures looking from one side into another. My work allows me to re-interpret and confront questions of place and belonging. Having begun my artistic career learning Asian pottery techniques in a Western education system, I am also continually investigating the sources and ownership of cultural influence.
The objects I create collect elements of form, decoration, color and material from various cultures while questioning failure, expectation and intent. They offer a collision of influences from various origins—Chinese, Korean, French, Dutch, English, Minoan, etc.—reflecting my passion for historical ceramics and insights on the past. Ceramic production has long been influenced by an industrial standard of perfection, and I commit myself to the integrity and craftsmanship of form and decoration in each piece.
— Steven Young Lee
Originally from Chicago, Steven Young Lee has been the resident artist director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena since 2006. In 2004-05, he taught at numerous universities throughout China as part of a cultural and educational exchange in Jingdezhen, Shanghai and Beijing. In 2005-06 he was a visiting professor at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C. Lee received his BFA and MFA in Ceramics from Alfred University.
Lee has lectured extensively in North America and Asia. In March 2013 he participated on a panel, “Americans in the Porcelain City,” at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York. In 2013, he was one of several international artists invited to participate in “New Blue and White,” an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston that featured contemporary artists working in the blue-and-white tradition of ceramic production. In 2016 his work was featured as part of the Renwick Invitational at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Lee's work has been collected by the Smithsonian Museum, the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, Korea, as well as many private collectors.