Rhys Lee

Words and photography: Cory White

If you google this celebrated and highly collectable Australian artist you will not find personality pieces. And you certainly wont find extensive editorial dialogues, as Rhys likes to keep things short and sharp. That is precisely what made this feature so special for me. Rhys Lee appears a guarded man, and that’s what I like about him. I respect people who selectively drip feed information about themselves, but it can become uncomfortable and tricky when you are trying to explore someone’s inspiration and art though the lens of a camera in a single afternoon. To his credit Rhys’ hospitality was beyond my expectations. To my delight I was given little restriction on what I could and couldn’t shoot in both his studio and personal space, which shares the same rugged coastal Victorian address. Rhys and his partner dished up a more than hearty lunch of locally sourced organic foods and wine while I explored his creative process for his upcoming show in June 2011.  I have always loved Rhys’ work – both the brooding and bright phases – and what I saw this time satisfied both. So without further ado, grab a cuppa’ and have gander at Rhys in his well-treed creative haven.

Describe Rhys Lee in a few words: Really, really sensitive. Any nicknames? Rice. If you had only one medium to work with forever what would it be? Ink. Lover or fighter? Lover. Ultimate piece of art to add to your collection would be? There’s not an ultimate piece out there. I need lots of different pieces to be satisfied. Worst habit (refer to girlfriend if necessary)? Being too honest. At what age did you create your first piece of  ‘Rhys Lee’ art and what was it? Can’t remember. Favourite plant or tree? Mangroves. Has moving close to the ocean changed your body or mind? Yes…healthy body, healthy mind. Summer or winter? Summer, but I like jackets. Does digital technology play a part in inspiring your work? Research. Favourite coffee haunt? My kitchen. Any new mediums on the way that we should know about? Ceramics. A little word association: Bike: Hill Pasta: Linguini Purple: Brai Grin: Rotten Rain: Hail Hurt: Sorry Fluorescent: Pink Gold: Arms Fame: Who? Album on repeat at the moment? Beach House. Do you support a carbon tax? Yes. What’s your signature dish? Baked snapper. Favourite time of the day to work? Anytime is good. If your house was burning down, what would you grab first? A banana. Last but not least, Stones or Beatles? This is a stupid question… Beatles!

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