Jes Lee

Moving right along

This week I get to share with you that my #Mississippi book is now also included in the permanent collection at the Minnesota Historical Society! It is so exciting to have that book travel so many places, and be seen by so many people. I never dreamed that would happen!

I have been busy the last few days editing film scans of photos from our trip last month, and working on a new series of artwork. I have more plans for this year, though it is a bit too early to share them now. It is an exciting and full year, in all the best ways!

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be sharing many film photos from our trip this week, as well as a couple of work-in-progress photos from the artwork series I am working on.

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This new year is still new



I am still getting the hang of this new year.

I have introduced a lot of new practices into my creative life. Some are sticking well, others not as much.

I have kept up with my film 365 project, and in the process fixed one of my broken cameras.

I have kept up with my ‘morning pages’ journaling practice, though not quite every morning, and not always 3 full pages. But I am journaling and writing more, and it is helping me more than I ever thought.

I have started doing yoga. I went to three classes last week, and really enjoyed the challenge and calm they provided. (Also, yoga makes me feel warm, which I desperately need now!)

I have started working with the studio manager at MCBA on a very exciting project there.

I have started a new book making class at MCBA that will guide me towards making a new editioned book. I admit, I was scared to death to go to this class. I still am, though much less than I was. It is intimidating studying under and next to book artists that I look up to and admire, and feeling like my work belongs. But it has been amazing. I have a lot of work to do on this project, and many articles and books to read to help guide me through this design process, and I am looking forward to it!

Through a very kind friend’s amazing generosity (if you happen to be reading this, you know who you are!) I am the owner of an Impossible Project Instant Lab camera. This amazing little invention creates instant photos of any image you can put on a cell phone. I have played with it all weekend, trying different exposures, making images of cell phone photos and artwork compilations, and double exposures. 2014-02-08 11.31.45

There will be a full blog post on this very soon! I am still too amazed at what it can do to really put in words yet.

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I have had to do more healing this winter than I ever expected to. For the first in quite a while, I finally feel like I have a better grip on it. 2014 is still new and still fresh, and still great.

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Today also happens to be the birthday of the guy I adore. I am very happy to be enjoying 2014 with him. Happy Birthday love!

A rare Friday update

June has barely started, and it is already gearing up to be a busy month! It is busy in many wonderful ways though, so I can’t complain at all!

I am working on tons of photos for MCBA now. I love being busy with work for them! At the last Artist Co-op meeting we discussed more upcoming opportunities and deadlines. I know I have bitten off more than I can chew this year as far as deadlines go, but they are all so exciting and there isn’t one I wouldn’t want on my plate! So here we go!

Art-a-Whirl photos should be posted soon! I have all the film developed and scanned. Just a few more touch ups are needed, and they will be good to go! Of course I will post a link as soon as they are up.

This weekend is Northern Spark in Minneapolis. This is the second year for the festival, and it has already become one of my favorites! In case you don’t know exactly what it is, it is a festival that takes place from dusk to dawn…that’s right, all night long! Art centers and artists around the city participate, setting up exhibits, activities, performances, and anything else imaginable they can. Food trucks serve food and caffeine all night, there are special busses and bike paths to get festival go-ers from one place to the next…it is epic! This year I will be spending the entire night at MCBA helping with their event which includes sound, performances, and letterpresses. I’m very excited! (Though I do believe that next year I will plan on not volunteering all night long, and will instead be out seeing the other activities…and of course dragging any and all friends with me I can!) I love seeing how many people will stay out all night, supporting the arts in our dear city on the river. Even the number of people who don’t stay out the whole night, but are out living it up until midnight! It is awesome.

I will be teaching a couple of classes at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts this summer. As soon as their latest newsletter is posted on their site, I will link to the classes here! In the mean time, you can always give them a call or send an email to get their latest class schedule.

I have been busy filling out applications for winter/holiday art festivals already. We are planning to keep it a bit more simple this year. I think that will be a very wise decision.

The photo classes at Bloomington Art Center have not been going as well as I had hoped. The darkroom classes have not gotten enough registration for the powers-that-be to let them run. We shall see what the fall session brings on that front. My granny used to tell me that nothing is ever so bad that some good doesn’t come out of it. Sometimes those things take a while to see. I believe this situation will be one of those, but I can handle that now.

I am getting back into the mode of experimenting and playing. This is something I have needed for quite a while now. It is so easy to get too far away from the creating, the trying-new-bits, the taking-loads-of-photos, the collecting. Being back in this place is definitely making me a lot calmer about all the deadlines and stresses. Of course, it does help a bit that I have two new cameras to play with, and have had time lately to throw on the pottery wheel a bit more. I have plans of new things to do and try in my darkroom as well. All enlargers have been cleaned and given new light bulbs….they are ready to go! There are gallery shows coming up for me this year and early 2013…and I want to have new work done for them. Wait and see! It will be grand!

New camera #2 – a Yashica 635 medium format TLR found at a garage sale by my dad :)


Crunch time

I was on a roll posting daily for a little while! … Ok, just a few days really.

Right now I am in what is commonly called ‘crunch time’. The time when deadlines are no longer just ‘coming fast’ but are actually knocking on your door and asking to be fed.

I have a lot of work ahead of me today, and since Mr. Fictitious Nonsense will be gone most of the evening at a meeting, I have the whole day to work. I’m hoping someone kindly reminds me to take a break to eat. (I really with Chipotle delivered!)

I will have a lot of prints for sale at the upcoming events! I have worked hard on this. There will be a fair amount new prints as well. Getting these new prints ready has taught me two things:

1. I really do have a favorite enlarger out of the 4 enlargers I have in my darkroom. It is the first enlarger I purchased when I was putting together my studio. It has a very nice, clean lens, is hooked up to the best darkroom timer I found (on of the large dial ones), and it is the perfect size for making the print sizes I usually make. Sadly, this favorite enlarger is waiting for a new light bulb at the moment. I think any of my other enlargers could become ‘second favorites’, but they do need a bit of tlc/upgrading to get there. I hope to work on that soon though!

2. I finally get what many people have said about running color film through a camera with a plastic lens. Wow! The color saturation is intense! Since I was not able to make many good black and white darkroom prints to add to my portfolio, I started going through some of the color images I have that I haven’t added to any compilations yet, looking for something different to add to my portfolio. I was a bit amazed at what I found, and I am looking forward to printing them today!

I have updated my ‘announcement‘ page with the new events that are coming up. Hopefully there will be more ‘new artwork!’ updates coming soon as well!

I have ideas for a couple of the ‘quickly upcoming exhibitions’ and will hopefully soon have a bit of time to try some of them out. In the mean time, I’ll just keep taking pictures :)


Spring update


It is time for an update!

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? A poetry video I created for Kathryn Kysar is a featured video on the National Council of Teachers of English website for April 10th!

Tonight (April 12) at 7pm Kathryn Kysar and Philip S. Bryant will be reading at the ArtStart gallery in St. Paul. The four poetry videos I created with Kathryn will be shown during the reading. Prints of the images I created for these videos will be hanging in the gallery through June 12th.

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts Artist Co-op will have artwork hanging up at the Anderson Center in Red Wing May 11 – June 25th. This is an amazing group of artists, and I am so honored to be part of the Co-op. The show will be spectacular! There is an opening reception on May 12th. Bookmaking workshops and poetry readings will take place from 3-6:30. The artist reception will be from 6:30-9pm.

I finished the books for the ‘Seasons’ series I was working on. ‘Spring’ is available now in my web-shop and in the Minnesota Center for Book Arts gift shop. ‘Summer’, ‘Autumn’, and ‘Winter’ will be available in those locations by the end of April.

Craftstravaganza is May 12th 10am-5pm at the State Fair Grounds! Jes Lee Studios and Dad and Kiddo Pottery will have a booth there. This year, there will be booths and activities in both the Fine Arts building and the Progress Center – twice as big as last year! Our booth will be located in the Progress Center.

I have a new website!!

Portrait sessions – due to a shift in my work schedule, I will have MORE availability on Saturdays!! The schedule can fill up fast. Contact me soon to schedule Spring and Summer sessions!

Spring cleaning can mean finding boxes full of old family photos and slides. Creating digital files of these memories can make them more accessible, sortable, and make it easier to share them with friends and family. If this is something you are thinking about, contact me! I can help!

I am offering more photography workshops at Bloomington Art Center, including a few new classes in the darkroom! Sign up if traditional film photography intrigues you, or pass the info on if you know someone interested in this!

I will have a spot in Art-a-Whirl again this year! Art-a-Whirl will take place May 18-20. Check the ‘announcements‘ section of my website for more information about this and other upcoming events!

Thank you!