Lee E. Wright {E} Artist Feature

by Christina Diaz

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, fine artist Lee E. Wright has been drawing, painting, and sculpting since early childhood. Art was his escape from the world around him. But like so many of us, Lee’s parents had a plan for him. So Lee decided to give up his art and pursue a career in finance. But no matter how successful he was there was always something missing. The stress and long hours of his job left Lee searching for a creative outlet so he started to pursue art again.

First, it started with Lee playing with paint for about an hour per night and quickly developed into the passion Lee had as a child and found himself standing in his garage painting until it was time to shower and go to his then day job the next morning. Inevitably, he built up a collector base and a small following of my art and decided to take a leap of faith and make his childhood dreams come true.

Now, a full time artist and Lee work’s in his studio at Winter Street Studios every day. He happily asserts, “Self realization and determination were my savior, and art was my happy place where the troubles of my world seemed to melt away. Now art is my passion and my career and is only superseded by my beautiful wife and daughter. I get to do what I love every day. I get to show people the world through my eyes and hopefully change their view about the world around them in some way.”

{E}: Were you artistic as a child?
LW: Yes I was, I would spend countless hours locked in my bedroom with pencil and paper. And, when I discovered paint, my teacher was kind enough to allow me to take some home with me so I could spend several hours with a brush. When I wasn’t painting or drawing I was reading and cross referencing everything art related I could find in the 1965 World Book Encyclopedia that was stacked on the floor of my bedroom.

{E}: Describe the process you go through to create a piece.
LW: Ideas for my paintings come to me at the most unexpected times, while stuck in traffic, in the shower and even while painting a different piece. Once the idea is in my head it becomes all encompassing until I get it on canvas. I search for the perfect model and have them pose for me while I take hundreds of reference images. I then sketch out the piece as a study to see if my idea was viable and will translate into a good composition. If I like the sketch I will then enlarge it onto canvas and start painting. Most of my paintings take anywhere from 40 to 80 hours to complete.

{E}: Are you self-taught or did you attend a trade school?
LW: I am primarily a self taught artist as I did not attend school to study art.

{E}: Describe your art.
LW: I consider myself a contemporary figurative artist. I like to show the juxtaposition of light and dark in people, what could be, or what currently is. In doing this I’m trying to show the viewers of my work a side of the world that is all around them but that they may be blind too.

{E}: What inspires you?
LW: A better question would be what doesn’t inspire me? I find inspiration everywhere, in my child, my wife, and even the guy panhandling on the corner.

{E} Whom are some of your favorite artists and why? How have they influenced your work?
LW: Of course I love the classics but right now I find a strong influence from several contemporary artists. Eric Fischl – his ability to tell paint a narrative is second to none. The stunning images done by Brad Kunkle take my breath away and make me wish I could use gold leaf. David Jon Kassan can’t be beat when it comes to representing the human figure. There are even other Houston based artists that I am constantly learning from and the inspiration I get from those artists around me has been paramount to my personal development.

{E}: Favorite art tool and why?
LW: My favorite art tool is a very specific brush…there are many like it but this one is mine. It’s a cheap #4 flat synthetic bristle by Windsor Newton. I have used it so much that the coating on the handle has been chipping off and falling on my floor. I have bought several replacements for this brush but they all sit in the brush holder while I go on using the same old beat up brush. I really have no idea why I like it so much…I just do.

Lee E. Wright {E} Artist Feature