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Towers Magazine - A Philosophy of Visual Experience

Towers Magazine - A Philosophy of Visual Experience

Editor's Note: This and other stories appear in the Fall 2016 edition of Towers Magazine, available online now.

There is a little bit of Otterbein in every lesson artist Andy Yeonsung Lee ’88 teaches at the Let’s Art Youth Art & Design Center, a school he founded for students of all ages in 2003 in Seoul, South Korea.

Let’s Art is a private after-school program for about 120 students, ranging in age from 4 to 20. Courses of study include painting, drawing, printmaking, three-dimensional art, visual communication, product design and cultural craft.

Quite an interesting career for Lee, who entered Otterbein in 1984, undecided about a major until he took an elective drawing class from Earl Hassenpflug.

“I really enjoyed his class and one day he offered me a talent award scholarship that made a huge impact on me,” Lee said. “He was the first one who recognized my passion and talent in art. He was my mentor, as were professors Joanne Stichweh and Al Germanson.”

After his bachelor’s degree, Lee earned his master’s degree in art in 1993 from Southern Illinois University where he taught art part-time before returning to South Korea to serve as global design strategy manager at Samsung Electronics Co. until 2000.

The birth of Lee’s son, Sean Gyeong jun Lee, led to the inspiration to build Let’s Art.

“I was thinking, what talent do I have for my son and children in Korea,” Lee said. “I realized I could use my art and language talent. That was how it all started.”

Lee, who made a week-long guest artist visit to Otterbein last April, describes his art as “visual storytelling.”

“I paint pieces of my experiences, stories, memories, everyday observations and my own fairy tales in a combination of cubism and abstract expressionistic manner with mixed media,” Lee said.

A lot of what Lee learned from Hassenpflug and Stichweh in the art studios carries over into the classrooms of Let’s Art, for instance, using only five colors and mixing them for painting or turning your art work upside down before finishing.

“Not only technique, but I also learned the philosophy of visual thinking,” said Lee.

Lee learned more than great art from his Otterbein professors. “I learned family warmth and brotherhood from my fraternity, Pi Beta Sigma, and that carries on in my life,” he said.

Read the Fall 2016 edition of Towers Magazine, online now.