Bovey Lee is a Los Angeles based artist who has traded in the brush for the knife in order to create mesmerizing and detailed cut paper works of art. Bovey Lee was inspired by Chinese calligraphy from an early age, and later went on to complete a BA in Fine arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Since then Bovey Lee has earned two MFAs – one from the University of California, Berkeley, and a second in computer graphics and interactive media from Pratt Institute in New York. Lee began experimenting with cut paper in 2005 and was able to incorporate both of her degrees into the creative process. First, Lee forms a compilation of images on the computer in order to create an ornate template. After the computer graphic is created she traces over the image with a knife carving into the paper, resulting in her final design.


Bovey Lee. The Tightrope Walker, 2015.

Lee uses Xuan paper, also known as rice paper, to cut away negative space, making a three dimensional and detailed image. By using the Xuan paper Bovey Lee is able to connect with her Chinese heritage and her love for art which began with Chinese calligraphy, painting, and drawing. All of Lee’s cut paper works are inspired by the human relationship with nature and our actions on the environment. This can be seen in almost all of her artwork where the natural world is struggling in opposition with the man-made machines. The fight against these two forces is depicted in a swirling cloud of mechanical and natural forms, both coexisting and living in opposition simultaneously.


Bovey Lee. Outgrow-Soybeans, 2014.

Historically, Chinese paper cutting was an art form that the entire community participated in. Women in the community would come together to simultaneously create a work of art that would span across generations of artists. These women would remain anonymous, to them the importance was in the process of creation not in the outcome or product. Lee represents the importance of process to the artist in combination with the value of contemporary design and technology. Combining not only nature and machinery but a historic world to a modern one.

Bovey Lee has been featured in numerous books and has many international commissions and editorials. Bovey Lee will be speaking at Clear-cut: The Point of Paper Cuts  on Monday November 7th from 6:00-7:30pm. The panel will take place in the Bush Conference Center located in Beckman Hall, Room 404. In addition to Bovey Lee, Jorge Benitez, Chris Natrop, and Margaret Sosa will be speaking at the event.

We are grateful to the Escalette Permanent Art Collection Endowment for generously supporting this program.