I strongly believe that art belongs in the real world – art lives and breathes, it is made to be lived with, rather than lived around.

For this reason, my work revolves around the experiential wonder of art-making, the creation of beautiful moments and the celebration of beautiful shapes, lines and details. I’m interested in why we create things, how we create them and in creating them with other like-minded souls in a warm, inclusive, fun environment.

My artistic practice has a deeper, relational and experiential nature. In my work, whether it is performance based or simply ink on paper, the audience always plays a crucial role; becoming either part of the art work or part of the art making process or both. I want to create art that sings out from the wall, or steps away from it completely, so people are forced to engage with it, interact with it, become it, grow old with it, love or hate it.

My work is grounded in human experience and interaction: the passage of time, the exposure of vulnerability, the delicacy of communication and the fears and pleasures of sensation.

With my life drawing, I delve into my feminine core of experience, forging relationships with other women and helping them to discover, expose, celebrate and document their bodies in a particular moment of time. I see the act of sitting and talking with my client-model as an equally if not more important aspect of the artwork than the finished work of charcoal on paper. For me, the process is always key.

I am forever documenting my own body also, its movements and my process as an emerging artist in an un-ending video self portrait. I often use music to complement the visual statement and also create an accessible framework for viewers to engage with the work.

The music in question is developed through a series of artistic workshops/festivals that I co-founded and co-produce. Again, these events are designed to invite artists of all inclinations/ genres as well as any members of the public who wish to engage with an artistic side of themselves to collaborate together.

I am interested in created virtual and metaphysical spaces as well as physical: my ‘spin-off’ website www.manishalee.com is a conceptual model of how I wish to share my works of fiction. Public storytelling that is incredibly intimate.

As for my history, I have been studying, living and loving art ever since ever, though it has become an over-riding and all-consuming passion over the last four years, which I have spent cultivating a creative culture in as many places as I’ve been able to. I have exhibited in Sydney, Shanghai, Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and most recently, in Manila in this time.

I work primarily in oils, pastels, charcoal, photography/video, performance and storytelling (!) and I’d love to hear from anyone who needs a creative boost or a partner in artistic crimes.

Ecstasy charcoal woman self portrait