I was recently left dumb struck by the quality of Lee Misenheimer’s drawing work and the effect created through his intense, well-trained lines. Graduating from East Carolina University School of Art in 1994, Lee has a large collection of his drawings in his cache.
His recent set of drawings are the focus of this interview, where I sought to find out more about his background and working style.
Lee has been drawing since he can remember; an important prerequisite, I feel, for the collection of work he is known for.
Over the years after graduating, my style sort of skipped around but generally I couldn’t sit with one piece for too long. Getting bored came easy. Then over the last few years I really lost any desire to do any art at all. It was a pretty hefty creative depression. Very recently I’ve begun to get inspired again, and the work has for some reason needed to be darker, and thick with line work. I’m still seeing where it goes.
Japanese art has been one of the main sources of inspiration for Lee over the years. Other influences include ‘organic/floral/natural textures… mushrooms… plus many ideas about air/wind/breath.‘
All of the pieces from Lee’s recent series have been drawn on a surprisingly small 8 by 5 inches Moleskine journalist/reporter notebook, which has a smoother paper quality than their sketchbooks range, and have a subtler, more favourable texture with an off white colour that Lee loves.
As far as drawing goes, I definitely have some sort of repetitive line syndrome. Building up layers and layers of line work is somewhat soothing to my brain as of late. For the moment, color either goes on as a slight tint or I start with a splotch and draw on top. Color is definitely where I need more exploration.
Recently Lee has been using a drafting lead holder with 2mm leads, which are 5B. ‘I’m going through roughly 6 leads or so a month maybe… with some breaks in there too. I need new lead come to think of it.’
â“’ Lee Misenheimer, 2009
Lee is currently keeping the sketchbook going on a daily basis. ‘I have a few medium sized pieces in the works and a larger piece tacked to my wall that i just started on. I’m also trying to get back to a couple projects that I owe people during those few bad years.’