Winter wearable artwork

Winter is a wearable artwork based on a frame form Winter Diagrams: December,  animated pen and ink drawings.

This whole struggle with paintings that look like dresses comes from a single well – I have  always pushed the third dimension in my drawings and this comes directly from being a 3d artist for so long.  My brain has been completely rewired to think three-dimensionally.  I can’t imagine a satisfactory flat plane and there is this anxiety to twist it in another direction.

The thirst for dimension pushed me to animate the drawings, and, in turn, to take the animated drawings in yet another dimension with the wearable work. The wearability comes from sensory seeking, craving tactile things, feeling the work with the whole body, literally occupying the work.

Winter wearable artwork by Mirena Rhee
Winter wearable artwork

New Installations and Performance Art site –

Mirena Rhee's  Xquisite Corpse Act Two - Installation and Performance Art
Xquisite Corpse Act Two before the public entered the studio

Xquisite Corpse is an ongoing project, a series of Installations and Performance Art pieces with open public participation. I began Xquisite Corpse in 2010  as a continuation to a series of earlier works I created with a  group of artists called Absurdas.

The Xquisite Corpse work is about the body, the body as a landscape, and whatever surrounds the body, also as a landscape.

Xquisite Corpse doesn’t have an audience or a script, no money change hands, no models, no artists, no plan of what is going to happen, because anyone that stepped into the work played their own script, became the artists, the models, the canvas, the audience of their own painting.

Figment Installation and Performance
Mirena Rhee's Xquisite Corpse Act Two - Installation and Performance Art
Xquisite Corpse Act Two
Mirena Rhee's Xquisite Corpse Act Two - Installation and Performance Art
Act Two – into the night
Mirena Rhee's Xquisite Corpse Act Two - Installation and Performance Art
Our most Xquisite Corpse was Gymnos Alitheia
Mirena Rhee's  Xquisite Corpse Act Two - Installation and Performance Art - The Runway
Gymnos Alitheia disappeared into the Runway
Mirena Rhee's Xquisite Corpse Act Two - Installation and Perfromance Art. The Morning After.
Xquisite Corpse Act Two – Installation and Perfromance Art. The Morning After.

Happy Thanksgiving

Currently I am in Europe working on a project.

I miss the States and wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving.

Europe is cold and feels even colder after I spent considerable amount of time in Florida and California over the last couple of years. But as in New York, cold always stimulates the mind as there is no urge to be outside and move about.

Here are two pieces I did over Thanksgiving three years ago. For the first one I used the back of a  Nordstrom catalog I got in the mail:


i have everything - i piece i did on the back of a Nordstrom catalog
Drop everything and shop, 11×19 inches, sharpies on the back of a Nordstrom catalog


Another piece with a Thanksgiving theme is called I have everything. It is a digital collage over a photograph of me wearing a paper dress .The other strong theme here is Occupy and the effect the movement had on me and the way I viewed New York city. I have everything was completed shortly after NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park.


I have everything, digital collage on top of a photograph of me wearing a paper dress


The paper dress I am wearing is a 30 x 40 inches mixed media piece. I painted over a  Giclee print of my Lucasfilm W2 and scraps of paper collage:


30x40 inches printed photograph I turned into a paper dress
I have everything paper dress, 30×40 inches, mixed media over Giclee print

You can listen to the voice piece about I have everything here:

The Flying Tree

I drew the Flying Tree during my failed attempt to go to Tibet, Nepal and Mt Everest Base Camp. I had already obtained Chinese visa, bought anti-diarrhea drugs,  waterproof rainwear and wool underwear, arranged for a sidecar trip around Beijing, a trip on the train to Lhasa and a 4 wheel drive across the Tibetan Plateau.

Couple of days before the trip the results from my physical exam blood work came in and it turned out I was severely anemic. My doctor recommended I do not go on the trip as it involved high altitude -I panicked and never went. I spent a couple of days crying.


I closed the doors to my studio and drew for three weeks straight, all my dreams flowed out,  into and with the ink.  Flying Tree was one of the drawings I completed during that time.

Flying Tree, 15×20 inches, pen and ink on paper, 2009

I dedicated the Flying Tree to my late grandfather Spas who passed away September 28th, on the day I was supposed to hang the Tree in a gallery in downtown San Francisco. He was just like the Old Man and The Sea, he made fish cakes and raspberry wine, he grew large tomatoes. All my friends and my brother’s friends came to see him at his house on the Black Sea. He used to say a Macedonian soldier never turns back – just 180 and forward.


Eventually I learned that in Hindu religion, in the beginning mountains had wings.. they were cut off by thunderbolt. The Flying Tree was the foothills of my Govardhan, the imaginary mountain I needed to climb instead, perhaps to ascend mentally first before taking my body there. Ultimately, I gifted the “Flying Tree” to an anti-cancer benefit a former colleague of mine organized at Pixar.

45 Everyday Phrases Coined By Shakespeare

Isn’t language astonishing? The ability to convey complex concepts to another by means of few oddly shaped symbols. And then gurgling these out to make a point across the air,  or scribbling them down in a way so they carry meaning 500 years later.

BBC America has a list of 45 everyday phrases coined by William Shakespeare. In this context the words sound more beautiful and poetic than when used casually. Here is the list – you would be surprised:


“All our yesterdays”— (Macbeth)

“As good luck would have it” — (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

“As merry as the day is long” — (Much Ado About Nothing / King John)

“Bated breath” — (The Merchant of Venice)

“Be-all and the end-all” — (Macbeth)

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” — (Hamlet)

“Brave new world” — (The Tempest)

“Break the ice” — (The Taming of the Shrew)

“Brevity is the soul of wit” — (Hamlet)

“Refuse to budge an inch” — (Measure for Measure / The Taming of the Shrew)

“Cold comfort” — (The Taming of the Shrew / King John)

“Conscience does make cowards of us all” — (Hamlet)

“Crack of doom” — (Macbeth)

“Dead as a doornail” — (Henry VI Part II)

“A dish fit for the gods” — (Julius Caesar)

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” — (Julius Caesar)

“Devil incarnate” — (Titus Andronicus / Henry V)

“Eaten me out of house and home” — (Henry IV Part II)

“Faint hearted” — (Henry VI Part I)

“Fancy-free” — (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

“Forever and a day” — (As You Like It)

“For goodness’ sake” — (Henry VIII)

“Foregone conclusion” — (Othello)

“Full circle” — (King Lear)

“The game is afoot” — (Henry IV Part I)

“Give the devil his due” — (Henry IV Part I)

“Good riddance” — (Troilus and Cressida)

“Jealousy is the green-eyed monster” — (Othello)

“Heart of gold” — (Henry V)

“Hoist with his own petard” — (Hamlet)

“Ill wind which blows no man to good” — (Henry IV Part II)

“In my heart of hearts” — (Hamlet)

“In my mind’s eye” — (Hamlet)

“Kill with kindness” — (The Taming of the Shrew)

“Knock knock! Who’s there?” — (Macbeth)

“Laughing stock” — (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

“Live long day” — (Julius Caesar)

“Love is blind” — (The Merchant of Venice)

“Milk of human kindness” — (Macbeth)

“More sinned against than sinning” — (King Lear)

“One fell swoop” — (Macbeth)

“Play fast and loose” — (King John)

“Set my teeth on edge” — (Henry IV Part I)

“Wear my heart upon my sleeve” — (Othello)

“Wild-goose chase” — (Romeo and Juliet)

The Song and the Body of a Comet

As an artist I work with the body and my body of work is my voice. Native Americans always considered all inanimate objects to have inner lives and express their voices. Here is the voice of a Comet:

You can find out more about how the song of this comet was captured on ESA’s blog.

Below is the first ever close-up of the body of a comet ever captured. And the Welcome to a comet blogpost on ESA’s site announcing the arrival of the images as we wait on more updates from the lander.

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Rome is not exciting the way Las Vegas is exciting

As part of my some kind of series I am creating short videos using photographs I shot. They sound and look like the mood of the moment I took the photograph.

Going to Rome was one of the most exciting experiences in my life. Rome is not exciting the way Las Vegas is exciting. I went to Rome on Christmas and after spending Christmas eve waiting for the Pope to come out and give us a blessing, after spending the whole night in front of St Peter’s cathedral, walking across the dark city, all the way from St Peters to my hotel.. I slept through all of Christmas day and woke up in the evening to find out Rome was completely empty. There was nobody outside. Everyone was either at home, out of town or held up in their hotel room waiting for a dry morning.

There was nobody on the streets of Rome, it was raining, little bit, on and off. I went to see the Colosseum. It was the most serene and peaceful place to be. With the Colosseum raising out of the darkness with its 2000 years of existence. Colored in yellow and blue. I would end up not visiting it during the day.

Happy Halloween

I have been a Star Wars fan since I was 7,  I went to work for Lucasfilm as a 3d painter and sculptor and this was one of the best opportunities to grow and become an artist and a craftsman.

George Lucas was not only a very generous employer,  but he created a creative atmosphere  where the artists had a great deal of ownership in the final product. He also threw annual Halloween parties with costume contest that had no equal in the Silicon Valley. The most famous story was that one year  ILM pushed the whole Pirates of the Caribbean ship, created as part of the visual effects for the movie, into the party, complete with a pirate crew.

One year, a group of ILM’s visual effects artists came up with the idea to dress up as Living Room Transformers – here is the couch ( Jett Lucas on the background ):

Bust of president John Kennedy by Dalí

Pieced the image together from Sotheby’s website – I felt I should compose as large an image as I can because this piece is very unusual. Why is it unusual? Because a paperclip is the badge of a quintessential bureaucrat, a man or a woman pushing papers from one tray to another under the pressure of a relentless authority figure. The piece was recently sold at an auction on Sotheby’s and my hope is it hasn’t been magnetized and used as a paper clip holder by an actual bureaucrat.

Authority has always been a good incentive for work. The quality of the authority directly correlates with the quality of the work. Rejection and glorification of authority  have prodded countless artists from around the world in all of history – from anonymous Tibetan sand paintings, to painful tomb sculptures commissioned by Michelangelo’s patrons, to the soft paintings in the Papal chambers, to the pro-totalitarian message of the Russian Constructivists, to various rejections of reality like Abstract Expressionism.

“Executed in 1963; this wax model was cast by the Rudier foundry then covered in paperclips by Dalí.”


The Abramovic Method Games

As a founder of MAI I got an early access to a series of simple exercises called The Abramovic Method Games.  Here are some screenshots of the Zen like games.

The Artist is Present game – you can play the game on Pippin Barr’s website here:the-artist-is-present-game-screen-marina-abramovich

the-artist-is-present-game-marina-abramovichComplaining to a Tree is my favorite game. There is a story I remember that involves a tree, the story gets pretty Balkan as Marina Abramovich is a Serbian, I am a Bulgarian and my late grandfather, who gets involved in the tree story, is a Macedonian.  My friends and I were visiting my grandfather at his house on the Black Sea – it was my birthday and I fell really sick with fever. My grandfather immediately said we ought to find an oak tree to hug for me to get better. We, the whole gang, got into a car and drove off to go find an oak tree.

Obzor, where my grandfather lived, sits where the Balkan Mountains dip into the Black Sea. The area is covered in woods and we drove up and down the road  looking for a good-sized oak tree grove.

We found the trees, we all hugged one and I got better. The point is, from my personal experience, complaining to  a tree helps. If you get a chance – you should do it too. (I assume no liability in case you take my advice and instead of going to the doctor- you go looking for a tree. I remember Tree Hugging was big in California when I used to live there but have no time to google the context. It seems the Tree Embrace is not a very Balkan idea after all).

You can Complain to a Tree here:complaining-to-a-tree-mai-gamecomplaining-to-a-tree-mai-game-screenshot2complaining-to-a-tree-mai-game-screenshot


Counting Rice and Sesame – play the game in your browser here:



Isabey sent me a replacement brush – I am a fan for life

I get attached to the materials I work with – I have been a life-long computer geek, a brush geek, a linen geek, a paper geek. After all, for a time – you and the instrument in your hand become a one in the pursuit of a work of art, or simply of work. Knowing what we now know of the micro-world of particles, the simple act of commanding an object is a miracle.

Mirena Rhee is an artist based in New York city. Mirena does pen and ink drawings, paintings, installations and performance art work