“I was very lucky to be born in Hay Nam (located on the south sea side of Korea). It was a perfect place to learn all about nature,” S.M. Lee says. “my town was facing the pacific ocean and was surrounded by beautiful mountains. It was an incredible sight. It was there that I became an eternal lover of nature.”
S.M. Lee was born in Korea in 1949. He was raised by a single mother since his father was killed during the Korean war. Although it was not an easy time for him, S.M. Lee remembers his childhood as the most inspirational time of his life. It was his great love for the sea that lead him to become one of the best seascape painters in Korea.
S.M. Lee made his direction to becoming an artist at the young age of eighteen.
“I didn’t know I had artistic talent. It was when my mother wanted
to have a picture of our grandparents for herself. We were too poor to afford a photograph taken. You have to understand that at that time we did not have any electricity in town. To have a picture taken we had to call a photographer from the main city. I wanted to make my mother happy and so I drew my grandparents with pencil on a piece of white wallpaper. It was a shock for everyone in my family, but I was the one who was surprised the most! It was then that I realized that I needed to do this for life. I never felt such energy in myself as I felt while I was drawing them.”
in 1972 S.M. Lee graduated from Seoul University with a degree in fine art. After graduation he taught drawing at high school level for three years. In 1975 he became a full time painter. He started off in many group exhibitions and then went on to private exhibitions. He received first prize in the Sam Mi art competition and the grand prize at Gu San Jun-Cone, which was the biggest art competition in Korea.
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