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Jesse Lee Artworks

Jesse Lee Artworks

ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The New York City art scene is more vibrant than ever before. Galleries in Bushwick and Williamsburg, Brooklyn as well as edifices of art in Soho, Chelsea, and Long Island City are showcasing the work of new and exciting artists. You can also discover up-and-coming and established artists at local neighborhood pop-up events and street fairs. Not to mention the colorful graffiti that adorns previously empty building walls all over the city. Art is just about everywhere you look in the Big Apple.



The community of Astoria, Queens is home to a group of young artists who find the diversity of the neighborhood and tight-knit, family vibe to be very inspiring. One of the artists who is making a huge name for himself, both as an artist and entrepreneur, is Jesse Lee Mercado. The founder of Jesse Lee Artworks, Mr. Mercado is a native New Yorker who was born in Manhattan to Dominican parents from the city of Santo Domingo. An artist who loves to listen to music when he paints as well as just about any time of the day, Jesse inherited his love for the arts from the maternal side of the family. His mom totally enjoyed performing and made quite a name for herself professionally, singing at various piano bars and festivals. Her dad was an orchestra conductor and played the trumpet with the Dominican Marines band.

Jesse grew up on 167th Street and Cromwell Avenue. That address may not mean much to you, unless, of course, you're a fan of the Joker movies. The Mercado family apartment was right near the famous "Joker stairwell ", where portions of the Joker movies were shot.

After the tragedy of 9-11, Jesse's family relocated to the Dominican Republic for a period of seven years. Jesse relished his time there, reconnecting with his roots and becoming inspired by the glorious scenery. Jesse loves all things related to nature. It's no wonder, then, that Jesse's favorite subjects to paint include trees, flowers and animals, as well as abstract patterns and spiritual beings.

The family returned to NYC when Jesse turned seventeen and he finished High School at the Celia Cruz School of Music in the Bronx where he studied the violin. Jesse went on to graduate from Lehman College in 2019 with a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science and Music. Jesse has been seriously painting since the Fall of 2019 when he took a charcoal drawing and a painting class with Professor Gina Dominique at Lehman. Other than those classes, though, Jesse is self-taught and proud of it!

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"I would say that the benefit of being self-taught is that you really get to see the progression of your work in a different light. You appreciate it more because no one really taught you; everything on the canvas came from your own mind, inspiration and determination."

Painting mostly in acrylic paint and oils, Jesse likes to think of his style as thought-provoking, abstract and modern. "But, mostly I consider myself to be outside the box when it comes to labeling my art. I feel that when you have labels you are confined to them. I have a very explorative mind, so one day I could paint something that you recognize and the next time, I'll turn out a piece of art and you would never think that I was the person who created it. That to me is beautiful and what art is truly all about."

Jesse Lee Artworks really came into its own at the end of 2020. The world was still reeling from the effects of covid. Yet, this was also a time of self-discovery, when many people used their time in lockdown to learn a new skill or explore a way to be creative and, eventually, when things settled down a bit, open their own business. Our artist in the spotlight, Jesse Lee, was no exception. But, we'll let Jesse tell you the story in his own words.

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"I have a friend by the name of Hannah, who was best friends with an art lover, Kerri Lindstrom. Kerri was interested in doing a pop-up event at a venue that she wanted to, at some point, turn into an art gallery. And so, Hannah, knowing all about my artistic tendencies and ambitions, introduced me to Kerri, who encouraged me to be a part of her event on the Lower East Side. The pop-up took place in December 2020. I brought over some prints of an original painting I had made, Judah's Lion. Considering all of the positive audience feedback on my work and the fact that my prints were selling pretty well each day, it inspired me to create more art."

Most works of art have some kind of backstory, even if it is known only to the painter. Judah's Lion is no exception. But, in this case, the artist is delighted to share his story with you." he story behind Judah's Lion is one of love, spirituality and my faith in God. It's about pride and perseverance, knowing that we are all kings and queens in our own right. It's about majesty and inclusion. I thought of all this when I created the original drawing on paper as a gift to my beloved boyfriend who is a Leo".

Back when Jesse was in high school, he dreamed of, one day, creating his own line of clothing. When he first started painting, that thought blossomed into putting his art on different types of apparel. Well, that dream is now a reality! On Jesse's website, you can find all kinds of clothing for men, women and even kids. Items that are available include T-shirts, dresses, leggings, pants, headbands, masks, sneakers, sweaters, hats, beanies and much more. " The idea of adding my art to clothing was a no-brainer. I want my art to be wearable and expressive; mostly vibrant and colorful but also monochromatic."

As a visionary and entrepreneur, there is no limit to Jesse's imagination. He just loves the act of creating something magical and presenting it to an ever-widening audience. To that end, Jesse Lee Artworks is producing his very first fashion show. Entitled" Emotions In Colors ", the show will feature some fabulous designs by Dominican fashion designer Yessica Quinones and, of course, Jesse himself! In the artist's words; " This show will go over human emotions in a very expressive and literal manner, triggering the audience's emotions with thought-provoking wearable art. Attendees can expect to be both wowed and inspired."

Hey, do NOT be surprised that when you attend "Emotions In Colors", you will want to bring home some of Jesse's wearable art, which will be sold at the show. And, everyone will receive a goodie bag filled with some really cool items. It's all going down at the WonderLoft venue in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, located at 75 Stewart Avenue on the second floor. Tickets are going fast and can be purchased at Eventbrite. was curious and asked Jesse; "if you were holding an intimate dinner party at your apartment in Astoria, who would you want to invite? "His answer was quite revealing. "As you know, I am a huge music guy and a lot of the artists I like listening to are very artsy, as well. I would love to have dinner with Amy Lee from the Evanescence band, not just because I am a fan of her music, but also because she is so down to earth. I would love to hear Amy speak about her process of creating music. Another guest would be Avril Lavigne. Everyone knows how great a singer Avril is. But, most people don't know that she paints as a hobby, too. Let's not forget Hayley Williams from the band Paramore. Also, I would totally enjoy speaking with Japanese composer Yoko Shimomura. She's an incredible talent and her compositions have inspired me over the years. Lastly, I would invite Claude Monet. I love his work and would learn a lot from this legendary artist."

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Artists always draw some inspiration from their surroundings and environment. The neighborhood of Astoria is a happy place for Jesse; somewhere where he can be himself, chill out and absorb the diverse cultures that this Queens neighborhood is famous for. And, let's be real, the tranquil greenery of Astoria Park and that picturesque view of the Manhattan skyline ain't bad, either.

"I've lived in Astoria for almost fifteen months now and absolutely love the neighborhood's vibe. It's very family-oriented, youthful and feels very much like a real community. The diversity of culture can be seen in all of the amazing restaurants around town. The sense of unity is inspiring, not to mention the carefully placed cherry blossoms."

One of Jesse's go-to dining spots is Mojave in Ditmars. The artist is partial to their Margaritas and beef macaroni and cheese. He's also a fan of Blend on the Water in Long Island City, finding their drinks and innovative Latin cuisine to be excellent. One of the ways that Jesse gets rid of stress and keeps in shape is by working out at Synergy Fitness with trainer Daniel Heller.

A painting from the talented hands of Jesse Lee Mercado would greatly enhance the ambiance of one's apartment. When the brunch crowd comes over or you're just relaxing with that special someone in your life, a Jesse Lee print or original will add color and vibrancy to your space. Don't forget to rock some of his wearable art, the next time you are heading out on a date or to go clubbing. Jesse Lee Artworks is where the party starts for ALL of your senses.

Contact Info:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Instagram: @jesseleeartworks
Personal Instagram: Master_Terra

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Tuesday, 16 July 2024