Photography and more from Jim Lee's Bamboo Turtle Studio

Jim Lee

Artist's Statement

Jim Lee

I know there is a constant stream of creativity flowing through me like a rich waterfall of ideas, concepts, solutions, connections, visions and more, all available to me when I pay attention. Sometimes it is gentle and quiet, other times a raging torrent. I reach into the stream when it is time to make art. The stream is always there whether I am present with it or not. Part of me always will be that little boy from many years ago, inquisitive, mischievous, defiant, empathetic, introspective, shy, capable of intense focus but prone to indiscipline most of the time, and not quite knowing where I belong.

My art is heavily influenced by my love of nature, science, and technology where I find hidden stories waiting to be told. I have lifelong connections to nature, science, technology, and art. I spend countless hours alone outdoors enjoying encounters with whatever presents itself. I am equally at home wandering around abandoned urban and rural infrastructure looking for the stories told by what remains. It all feeds into the way I think about my artwork. There is almost always an underlying concept in the work that has some root in the sciences, some direct connection to nature, or some comment on the human condition. Often, even my titles include references to scientific concepts or obscure quirks of nature.


Photography is the most intimate thing I do in art. It is the sharing of that intimacy that I strive for. I want my audience to not only see what I see, but feel what I feel. In photographing people, the intimacy often can be a little remote, journalistic, even voyeuristic. At other times it is close and knowing. Intimacy with natural world and the inanimate is more problematic but it is where most of my current work takes me. It means looking closely, looking beyond the surface, looking at texture, at history, at cause, at effect, at circumstance…looking for why it is interesting to me and what makes it worth sharing. The work can be beautiful, disturbing, or even whimsical. In any case, I want to take people where they haven’t been and leave them with questions and a desire to look again. In the final analysis, I want my work to be compositionally strong and narratively rich.