Lee Benjamin Freeman
An Artist Statement
I am aware of the value of art, as a means to enhance and enrich life. Art does this by giving an opportunity for exercising perception. The role of the artist is commonly thought to show 'beauty'.
It is about seeing and being aware. Perception is not a given. It is in our doing. I am concerned with being aware of my own perception, and try to approach any and all projects as a chance for a new perspective. This may be a fault as easily as it is blessing. The hope is to see inherent beauty.
No things exist on their own, so this is a responsive process. It is also ongoing.
A Brief Bio
I was born in 1986 in Brooklyn, New York. I was raised in Manhattan and Queens. I am still growing up.
I spent my childhood in an art friendly home, painting water colors with my mother and building cardboard castles with my father. Both my parents went to Cooper Union in the late 60's. When I was young I was fascinated by the graffiti paintings on rooftops visible from the windows of elevated trains. I met my first graffiti writer on a stoop in my neighborhood when I was 8 years old. At age 9 I had my first art piece in a group exhibition at the Studio Museum of Harlem. I made the piece in my 4 th grade art class. It was sold at the show for 100 U.S. dollars.
After a few minor run-ins with the authorities, graffiti became an unsustainable art form. I decided to put my energy into an art magnet high school, and spent summers in programs at Cooper Union and Rhode Island School of Design. In 2004, I continued to dally in this colorful world and started my studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After my foundation year, I got a job working for Julian Schnabel as a studio hand in New York. Upon returning to school I chose to become a sculpture major. In my sophomore year I committed to a vow of silence, that lasted 6 weeks as a form of meditation, focus and separation. My first semester, junior year I studied abroad at a the Studio Arts Center in Florence, Italy where I took classes in Renaissance art history and museology and continued separating myself from the traditional art making process I had always been involved with. After the semester I chose to stay in Europe, while taking a leave from school. I traveled through many countries in Europe, as well as Morocco, for more then 6 months during which time I learned I could not become separate from 'art'.
In the summer of 2007 I returned to New York where I resumed working for Julian Schnabel, as I had for the past few summers, and am currently re-enrolled at MICA, where I am continuing my studies.