Monthly updates from Jonathan Z Lee
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Jan 2021: Winter is Coming
On a quest for frosty bison with David Yarrow
The frostier the better. Braving temperatures of -20 and below. Yellowstone in the winter is a thing to behold. No better way to see it for the first time than with my dear friend and mentor David Yarrow. David exalts the splendor of America's national parks and natural wonders with such class and confidence. And he does it in style - up at 4AM, it's a wrap by 10. Though it seems like it's always somewhere miserably cold when we shoot together. (Svalbard, Alaska, Antarctica, Montana...how about Hawaii next time?)
Feb 2021: Dogtooth Galleries
Coming to Chester with Dogtooth Galleries
Delighted to announce that my work will be on display at Dogtooth Galleries. A beautiful boutique gallery in Chester with an incredibly eclectic set of works by supremely gifted artists. It's a good sign when you want the artworks you share wall space with for yourself. Check out their stellar collection and pop in if you are in the area.
Mar 2021: Shark Week
Tigers, Hammers, and SeaLegacy
I have begun leading bespoke, curated wildlife experiences for people who want to see how the magic happens, and are ready for life-changing encounters - the only way I know how to do it. Our maiden voyage in the Bahamas, going after charismatic big sharks was a wild week, with tiger sharks, hammerheads, dolphins, and a special hammerhead dive with Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeir, co-founders of SeaLegacy. Two heroes of the natural world and wonderful company in and out of the water. I count myself very fortunate to now know them as friends.
Apr 2021: Asia Bound
Coming home with APRE Artnet
I have always thought that my mission would ultimately take me home to Asia. Where there is such a need to reconnect with the natural world. The arts scene is blossoming in the greater China regions, and artists and galleries there are pushing the boundaries, embracing the digital age and focusing on immersive experiences. I am proud to say I will start my artistic journey in Asia in partnership with APRE Artnet, based in Hong Kong. Stayed tuned for exciting developments as we put together something special for later this year. I cannot wait to bring my work and message home.
May 2021: Mobula Madness
Exploring the wild wild west that is Baja California Sur
You don't expect scouting trips to yield so much - but then again, the rugged coast of Baja is no normal place. Dubbed the 'aquarium of the world' by Cousteau, this has been a bucket list destination for me since I started bringing my work under water. The sheer biodiversity in this one region is staggering. I was there for something very specific - the mobula aggregation. It is a mindblowing natural spectacle, and allowed me to express my obsession with recurring patterns on a grand scale. Rest assured I will be back to this region very soon.
Jun 2021: Invading Homes Across America
A partnership with Anthony George Home
I choose who I work with very carefully. It starts with mutual respect for each party's craft. And Anthony is a master of his. A rising star in the design world, Anthony creates spaces which immediately demand your attention. They are bold, iconic looks with layers that surprise and delight. I am overjoyed to work with such a talent who also draws inspiration from the natural world. We have become fast friends, and I am tremendously excited for our collaboration. For collectors seeking to reinvent a space and curate an experience, look no further.
Jul 2021: Beyond the Veil
The New Collection Launch
I am excited to unveil my newest collection: Beyond the Veil
For the past 3 years, I have gone below the surface over and over and over again, on a relentless quest to set my imagination free and paint on the deep blue canvas of our oceans. The water calls, and it pulls, and it releases. We are separated from our primordial source of life by the thinnest of layers. Below, there are unseen wonders, untold stories, unimaginable treasures.
The first print from the collection is already off the shelves, with a pre-release first edition of Man with Great Hammerhead, 2021 selling for $6,000, with all proceeds going to support SeaLegacy
The veil between us and the divine is more permeable than we imagine. Look beyond the veil of form and separation.
The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil.
Aug 2021: Into The Wild
The Final Frontier
Alaska. Humbling in its vastness, liberating in its wildness
The land that listens, the land that broods
Fulfilling fantasies of the final frontier
As important as the subjects I choose to photograph is the setting - and it doesn't get much better than this. But surely as important too is the company you keep. This is the third trip to these parts with David and Cameron Yarrow, and wild Alaska is starting to feel that most special kind of familiar.
With 430am wake up calls, a lakeside cabin with delightfully rowdy hosts, a dash of bad weather and good whisky, games of skill and games of chance, the warmth and wit of dear friends, this is an excellent trip with or without the bears. But yes, there were bears
Sept 2021: DAFA
Digital Art Fair Asia hits Hong Kong
Proud to be exhibiting alongside pioneering artists like Refik Anadol and Krista Kim at DAFA 2021 in Hong Kong. The art world is constantly evolving, and new immersive experiences draw audiences in through innovative mediums. Never has there been a greater opportunity to bring the splendor of the natural world to the masses.
Oct 2021: Transitions
Exploring the secret life of trees
The truth is far stranger than fiction. The groundbreaking research of Dr. Suzanne Simard (ecologist, University of British Columbia and author of Finding the Mother Tree), Peter Wohlleben (author, The Hidden Life of Trees), and others are changing our entire perspective around trees and their role in our natural world
Theirs is an ancient intelligence we are only now beginning to try to understand
An exciting new project of mine is now in production
Nov 2021: New Horizons
The mountains call and I must answer
After 13 years, I am finally leaving my adopted home of New York City. I will be moving to Switzerland, somewhere between the water and the mountains. This is a conscious effort to strip away the stimuli of society in an effort to better listen to the soul. No doubt I will be taking up some new hobbies, squeezing in some landscape photography between Skiing and French classes!
New York, I love you, be good, see you soon
The mountains are calling and I must go
Dec 2021: Cautious Optimism
Stay tuned in 2022
This has been a strange year, to say the least, but the silver lining is that most of us will happily accept strange after what came the year prior. I think I've made as much lemonade as I could with the lemons we were dealt, and for that I am immensely grateful. It has been a year of firsts, in terms of photography styles experimented with, creatures encountered, and well, a big relocation.
There was a brief window in the late summer this year where the prevailing spirit was one of "LFG!". That's generally my modus operandi, though I think cautious optimism is probably more accurate right now.
Big things are coming in 2022, but let's not count chickens before they hatch - you'll just have to stay tuned!