HIDDEN GEMS OF LOWELL HIGH: Senior illustrator Jun Lee


Senior Jun Lee is an illustrator at Lowell High. Every day after school, Lee commutes to HooSSo Art Studio in San Jose to work on his portfolio.


When did you start making art?

It sounds cliche, but I have done art all my life pretty much, but I decided to pursue art as a career pretty recently, like last winter. I realized my grades weren’t good enough to go to a half-decent UC. My first drawing that I remember was of Winnie the Pooh when I was five that I copied off my backpack. I got a pretty good reaction from my fan base and that’s when I realized art is my true passion. I never had any formal training, I only started taking lessons last December.

What’s your favorite medium and why?

My favorite medium is colored pencils because they are smooth and fluffy. My least favorite is water color because it’s really hard.

Artwork by Lee

Describe your style.

Realism. I don’t like to think about things abstractly, like I’ve never understood abstract art. My style is a lot more technical and less conceptual.

What has been been your favorite piece that you’ve done so far?

I don’t have a favorite piece I’ve done so far.

What inspires you?

Really good artists inspire me, like Kim Jung Gi. They’re all Instagram artists pretty much. I wanna be an artist in the entertainment field, like making animations or movies, so all animated movies inspire me. From an entertainment perspective, the most recent movie I like a lot was “Moana.” From a technical perspective, Disney’s early 2D animations are good because if you look into those you can see how much more work went into the 2D versus the 3D because they’re all hand drawn. You don’t make a 3D model and rig it.

Artwork by Lee

Lowell as a community: good for you as artist or no?

I would say no. There’s a heavy emphasis on academics at Lowell and nobody really cares about the arts except for artists.

Lowell art: over or underrated?

It’s definitely underrated just because of the amount of academic pressure students face at Lowell. It seems like everyone is locked in this path of taking a bunch of AP courses, getting a good GPA and going to a good UC to study engineering or computer science. I think this mindset is closing a lot of doors for Lowell students in terms of career choices and opportunities. It can really screw them over when they enroll in a UC or CSU only to find out that it just isn’t for them. So many Lowell students just see art classes as a trivial requirement that needs to be met so they can continue their path to becoming whatever mainstream “salaryman” their parents want them to be. They don’t bother giving it a chance.

All photos by Ciara Kosai