Halloween Special: Rhys Lee

In the week leading up to October 31st, we will be sharing the bone-chilling work of one of our favourite freaky artists, alongside a hair-raisingly festive little interview! Stay-tuned!

I guess you could say Rhys Lee paints portraits, but his mode is more the Picture of Dorian Gray approach—his works are a record of decay, possessed portraits, depicting disturbed faces in various stages of disintegration. The paintings give the impression of having been kept in a basement or attic for decades, destroyed by dank conditions, dust, mold and water damage, and then discovered years later, long after the passing of the subject, their colours still eerily vivid. In most cases that subject is a demented looking pet, a blank-faced stranger, or a clown-man with a twisted little smile and a suspicious accessory. Lee’s work is, simply, haunted. See Rhys Lee’s exhibition currently up at Olsen Gruin New York.– Olivia Whittick

Is your work intended to induce fear?
No, my work is never intended to induce fear… Sometimes the work ends up in a place where the viewer feels some kind of fear from it.

What are you most afraid of?
I am not afraid.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I don’t believe in ghosts.

Do you believe in magic?
Magician magic, no. Earth, wind & fire magic, yes.

What possesses you to create?
I guess I am possessed. It’s my medicine.

Have you ever had any sort of supernatural or paranormal encounter?
No, I’ve never had such encounters.

Given the choice, would you become immortal?
Mortality places importance on the small amount of time we have on this planet. Life would be boring if we were immortal.