Q+A: Lee Mora

Muralist Lee Mora incorporates a myriad of pop culture influences to create his bright, appealing portraits.

How would you describe your style?

I would call it the Jeet Kune Do way of art. A style with no style. I’m a big Bruce Lee fan. When I paint realistically, I tend to add a touch of Impressionistic flair to the pieces. I also enjoy breaking things down geometrically and having a more graphic, Pop Art feel sometimes. I’m almost always reducing shapes and forms. It’s really just about how I envision it in my head.

What subjects do you enjoy working on?

I enjoy painting portraits a lot, but when I think of figurative work, I enjoy drawing characters that are on a path to a higher level of some sort. The idea is that they’re on a journey, alone, in search of something new. Reincarnation, alternate realities, and transcendence in some way. Portals are a recurring motif I implement in my work as a frame or a doorway. A way out for the subject to consider.

What medium(s) do you work in?

Acrylics mostly. I do tend to dabble in a lot of different art forms though. I sculpt and woodwork as well. I will sometimes work with paper and plastic to make dioramas. And I have learned to a use a great deal of materials over the years. I’d like to save up for a laser cutter!

How has your process evolved?

Well, I also have some training using 3D modeling software. I started out at CCAD as an Industrial Designer, so now I tend to have a better understanding of space and composition because of it. I’ve strengthened my perspective skills at CCAD as well. My work as a muralist has also influenced my subject matter and process by helping me become more efficient.

What got you started creating art?

Two brothers who were both friends of mine that I grew up with in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, were really into art, anime and DragonBallZ. And they were just all about it, and so I would draw to pass the time when we’d hang out and it evolved into an activity we could all enjoy doing together and workshop and critique each other, and eventually my own personal passion.

What artists influence your work?

Alphonse Mucha for his mastery of balancing negative and positive space, and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto for his character design, largely in a show called “Fooly Cooly.”  A lot of my work goes back to things I learned in that show. And I don’t know where I’d be without Shigeru Miyamoto for having created “The Legend of Zelda.”

"I enjoy drawing characters that are on a path to a higher level of some sort. The idea is that they're on a journey, alone, in search of something new."

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