The work and expression of Lee Price is unlike many others. From first glance, you're pulled into the scene wondering about the honest portrayal of the subject's relation with her surroundings. The way that food and the female body are shown in her paintings, doesn't have the typical 'fat shaming' aspect that society dubs on many individuals but instead, the art speaks to you and says, This is my reality, let me in.
We got to speak with Lee about her work, the relationship between women, food consumption and body image—and much more. Here's why you oughta know her work.
We recently ran into your work and we’re immediately intrigued. It’s fascinating the way that you beautifully and honestly depict a relationship with food. Where did the inspiration behind this theme come about? What made you decide that this would be the focus of many of your paintings?
The series began as a commentary on compulsive eating and compulsivity in general. I related to the subject because I have had issues in the past with eating disorders. I am often asked if the painting was a cathartic process allowing me to work through these issues. But that question gets the order wrong. The action precedes the work. I could be going through something in my life and than it comes out in my work. I am moving away from the topic of compulsivity in my work because it is not as big of an issue in my life.
Your artwork is phenomenally realistic. What is your creative process like? How long does it normally take you to complete each piece?
My paintings are all self-portraits so I work strictly from photographs. Once I have an idea in my mind for what I want the painting to be about, I sketch out the composition. I then search for the props that are necessary to create the scene, buying or making what I will need. I usually take a few informal snap shots of the set up prior to the final photography session to make sure it's what I want. Then I bring my photographer in and we shoot until we feel that we've got what I'm looking for. One scene may require hundreds of shots.
If you had to describe your work in three words, what would they be?
Many of your pieces have the point of view of an outsider looking in. Is there a reason why you chose to do that as opposed to having it be from a first-person point of view?
The bird’s eye view often gets interpreted as a voyeurism thing or a “God’s eye” view — it’s neither. It’s the subject looking down on herself. Watching herself in the act of a compulsive behavior — observing. Being completely aware of what she’s doing but unable to stop. I’ve spoken to friends who have had this same experience in relation to drug addiction. It’s like an out of body experience.
Where do you normally find inspiration?
Day-to-day life is what usually inspires my work; books I am reading, conversations I have, experiences that broaden my understanding of myself or my environment. I recently read Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me” which really spoke to me. Everyone should read it.
Females, food consumption and body image… a conversation that many people are having. How do you feel like you use your artwork to talk about that relationship? What do you hope that other females take from it?
My work is about women and food, and the tricky relationship women have with food, because that is something I know about from my own life experience. The subject of my work goes beyond that, though. I use food as metaphor for the ways we (both men and women) distract ourselves from being present.
My work examines one way we get into compulsive patterns of behavior as a means of checking out. We do this primarily out of a fear of facing our real feelings about what's really going on. Food, in my work, can be a vehicle for that.
Lastly, what does wild mean to you?
It means being uninhibited. Knowing what your deepest voice is saying and following that regardless of what those around you think.
See more of Lee's work here.