Artist Statement by Jun Lee

When I was in first grade, there was a man who sold chicks daily outside of my school. They were so cute and appealing I had no choice but to buy one. I prepared my chick a bed and some food, but within a week it passed away. I did not know why it died and cried for days. I then purchased several more chicks, but none survived longer than a month. After that, I promised myself that I would never get a chick again.

This unforgettable childhood memory has been my obsession and inspiration for quite some time and made me realize the inescapable truth of life. The body of my work attempts to evoke the different moments of our competitive lives; pieces that express the spectrum of competition from hiding away to preparing for a fight. The reality is that all life is competition and we create barriers in our minds that allow us to think we have a space we can step into where the competition stops. That constructed space allows us to regroup and enter the next fight towards our goal. Every attempt might not succeed or look glorious, but every victory is built upon the foundation of numerous defeats. The ability to be successful is not dependent on the number of triumphs that you have, but rather your willingness to get up and continue the struggle after a defeat.

While a chick is the symbol of desire and fear of the competitions in life, a rooster symbolizes a winner or a loser, but one that can anticipate the fight. The rooster still has fear in his eyes but hides the fear with his vicious comb, fearless feet, and exotic feathers. Every time he walks into the fight ring, he stands with pride and holds his head high. I used to see myself as a chick, lost but still fighting. Now, this chick has finally gotten what it wished for: to be a rooster, the last fighter standing.