20 Questions with Lee Heekin


Name:  Lee

Current Residences:  Boulder, CO

Country of Origin:  USA

Describe yourself and your work:

I’m an educator, artist and mother of two. I am constantly meditating on the thought that feeling free is a state of mind. My artwork explores confinement and perspective.

How did you get started?

It all began by exposure to the arts at a very early age. My mother was an Art Historian and dragged me to museums around the world as a child. From there I became serious about making art in high school and when I learned that I could express myself better through imagery I went on to be an art major. Later while teaching studio art I obtained a Master Degree in Art Education and years later retuned to Art school for my MFA at Pratt Institute in NYC.


Where do you go to get inspired?

I go to my studio. Inspiration is everyday life, is nature so being in the studio, being present with time to create is when ideas flow.

What piece of work best represents you and why?

I suppose my kids are the best and biggest challenge in my life to date that requires insane self-discovery, kind of like my art, but when making art I get to be alone while feeling a greater sense of connection.


How does material influence your designs?

I have worked in a huge variety of mediums and generally choose the material that I want to work with that best presents my ideas. My recent body of work is a continuation of concepts that I have been playing with for some time now. Wood and wax seem to reiterate my concept of confinement and preservation. I have since fallen in love with working with these materials and don’t see myself tiring of them any time soon.

What have you learned through making that has surprised you?

Making art is very much a bi-polar experience with excitement and awakening being chased with intense self-doubt/criticism a day later.

Describe the setting of where one of your designs will be in the year 2050.

Hopefully at one of my favorite spots…MOMA, Storm King Art Center or MASS MOCA

What is it like when you collaborate with other artists?

It’s a wonderful journey where I can take a refreshing departure that I otherwise might not have explored without another’s unique contribution and dialogue.


How do you balance being an artist and being an entrepreneur?

These two interests feed and inspire the other, as they are not exclusive. Helping start the Boulder Creative Collective has been incredibly exciting and working with local artists and trying to support a fresh art scene with unconventional pop-up events has been an art piece in itself.

What is your process for coming up with new designs?

Brainstorm, sketch and get my butt into my studio. Nothing happens if I don’t get in there with a solid block of time and mission to work.

Why do you believe art has value?

I better believe that… I taught art for over 10 years. To name a few: obvious cognitive and emotional benefits, It’s the only area that there are no right or wrong answers, that people can explore and exercise a part of the brain that needs to stay stimulated so it doesn’t deteriorate. Art is a questioning and a deep exploration that keeps people fresh and truly seeing the world that is around them. In terms of art and money…the value is in the beholder.


What is playing on your stereo?

Sylvan Esso I’m obsessed right now and have played them on repeat in my studio for a week now!

What’s in your cup in the mornings?

Bulletproof Coffee with lots of sugar.

Which artist inspires you most?

Tough question-mostly my peers and a few that I hold on a pedestal; Agnes Martin, Leonardo Drew, Robert Smithson, Kiki Smith, and Martin Puryear.


What’s the best thing about your studio/workspace/workshop?

The best thing is that I have a space to go and that it is a decent size so I can spread out. The worst thing is that it’s freezing half the time, which has been challenging with the staining and wax pouring process.

How do you stay motivated to create?

I make art for many reasons. In life, we experience so much fragmentation of thought and feeling (especially now that I have emotional fusion with my kids). For me, creating art brings things back together.

Lee Heekin’s exhibition titled “Fragmented” opens on First Friday March 6th, 6-10pm.  


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