Academics, historians, archaelogists, all of them – they struggled for years to uncover the true facts behind the work of this artist. Who was the person behind these remarkable works that were beloved by fans and valued by clients all over the world? Who was the genius behind the mask? A conference was held in which experts debated possible theories – could their talent have been explained by the fact that they were secretly a collective? Or a front for an underground sweatshop? Or perhaps they were bestowed with imagemaking powers as their home planet crumbled to pieces and they were sent to earth to keep us safe, with pictures? These were all possible. Then there was the other guy, in the corner, who suggested that maybe they just didn’t give us a bio. He was laughed out of the room, and the rest of the experts met in the bar for drinks.
Place of Birth:
Paraparaumu, New Zealand
Currently Living in:
Train, bus, bike, or other:
I just got a brand new BMX, so I’ll say bike.
What's the most important object in your studio?
Paper or Plastic?
If you could resurrect one no longer living person to have lunch with, knowing you will have to return them to the grave right after coffee, who would it be?
Elvis. That way I get to meet The King, go to Graceland and drink a coffee. Sounds like a good lunch.
Preferred method of dealing with an encounter with an acquaintance whose name you can't remember.
Call them ‘man’ or ‘dude’ or ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’.
Why don't you flip the tortoise over, Leon?
Because no one likes to see the other side of a tortoise. By the way, it’s Rik, not Leon.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Favourite client so far?
Drawing tattoos for friends.
Favourite imaginary client?
Anything that allows me to travel and work is good.
How does your mother describe your profession?
Coffee or tea?
What's your earliest drawing memory?
Drawing huge spaceship battles (complete with sound effects made by me) on massive rolls of paper my dad brought home from work for me. I’d spread them across the living room floor and cover them in cool aliens and rockets and explosions in minutes. In fact, my perfect client would pay me to do this.
How do you prefer to spend your mornings?
Just drawing really.
Rik on the JW blog
Rik Lee for the Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo