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Conversations with Marin Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marin Lee. 

Hi Marin, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
As long as I can remember I have been artistic in some capacity. Doodling, entering drawing contests, and writing notebooks full of poetic thoughts. 

2009 was the start of my love of painting and I was hooked. My living room floor quickly transformed into an ad hoc art space and as I began sharing my paintings via social media – people were interested. 

Through challenging life experiences, art became a way for me to relieve my anxiety and posed as an escape from reality. In a way, I turned my anxiety into art and for the first time, in a very long time, I knew I wanted to build an art business and do whatever it took for that to be my profession. 

I didn’t register my business until 2017 and when I did – I didn’t know what the next steps were or what I was supposed to do. At that time, I had been listening to Andy Frisella’s MFCEO podcast for a while and when he announced he would be launching Arete with Ed Mylett I knew I had to get in that group. 

June 20th of 2018, I received notification that my application to Arete was accepted and I dove headfirst into my entrepreneurial journey. I met people in Arete that changed my life, built relationships I dreamed about, and learned skills, and had tools available to me that I couldn’t find anywhere else. 

I went from selling one painting in 2018 to delivering one commission in 2019, and in 2020, after releasing my documentary, my business drastically took off. I sold more paintings in 2020 than I ever thought possible, booked out commissions for the rest of the year, and had a wait-list for commissions for 2021. 

As of writing this, I am booked out with commissions for the rest of the year, my artwork will be showcased nationwide at all of the Genesis Lifestyle Medicine locations, and I am working on an international project that I will be announcing early next year. 

To say I am blessed and grateful is an understatement! 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road at all. In 2009, I thought I landed my dream job and it turned into a nightmare. For almost 4 years I worked 70-90 hours a week, rarely took a day off, and even got into a car accident one day because I had been up for over 36 hours and wasn’t paying attention. 

That’s where my art became my escape and the tool that I used to combat the stress and anxiety I was experiencing. Art was the only thing that allowed me to shut off the outside world. When I left that job in 2013, I was medically in a state of burnout. The next job I worked from 2013-2015 became another unhealthy environment for me to work in and I was laid off in 2015, shortly after new executive leadership came in. It took me almost four months to find another job and not one of my unemployment claims went through. 

In 2018, 3 days after being accepted into Arete, I was abruptly laid off from my sales position because the company I worked for let go 80% of the outside sales team. Again, my unemployment claims were denied and it took me two months find a new job, that new job came with a drastic pay cut, and being a sole income household, I had to make it work. At that point in my life, at 38 years old, I took every last penny I had and invested it into myself and my art business. 

From 2012-2019 I saw 19 different doctors to try and repair my health. I was tossed around, wasn’t getting answers, and eventually took my health into my own hands by hiring a nutrition coach and fell in love with lifting. It was through those experiences that I understood what it felt like to be a number – a transaction – and I was determined to take what I learned from that experience and use it for something good. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a contemporary abstract artist that specializes in creating a visual representation of the story you hold inside. I only do original art – I refuse to do prints or reproductions of my work. I believe in honoring the individuality of the human soul. We are uniquely created and my art should match that. There is only one YOU in the world and I want my Collectors to know that when delivery day arrives – they are getting something that literally cannot be found anywhere else in the world. 

I’m known for quite a few things but my big hair is my signature trait, my blunt personality is definitely not for everyone, my fear of spiders is a very serious (and sometimes comedic) topic, and I’m absolutely a deep thinker with poetic writing tendencies. 

I am most proud of my Collectors. It takes an immense amount of courage to complete the interview process with me. They share intimate details of their life with me and put full trust in me to deliver a masterpiece that captures the details of their journey, 

What sets me apart from others is that I only do original art. When Collectors invest in my work, they get so much more than a painting. I am an excellent storyteller and each piece comes with a story when it’s delivered. These stories cannot be found anywhere on my site and it’s like sharing a secret that only my Collectors know. 

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
Prior to moving to St Louis, I had only visited the city a few times. The one thing I immediately noticed is people are PROUD to live here and PROUD of the city. I’ve met incredible people here who changed my life and I have to say they are the reason I decided to move. 

I haven’t been in the city long but in that short time, I have seen the biggest spiders I have ever seen in my life. So… if someone can fix that, that would be cool. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Travis James

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