Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interview with Holden Lee [Sunday spotlight]

At seven years old, Holden Lee is the youngest artist so far to be featured here on Build/Make/Craft/Bake, but don't let his age fool you. This kid has talent and skills aplenty.

Holden draws, creating imaginative and silly creatures that his mom, Cheryl, silk-screens onto t-shirts. Let's meet two of my favorites, Squidbat and Robosaurus: 
Holden writes: Squidbat uses his tentacles to grab his food, and he loves to eat fruit flies. Sometimes he is really sweet and he gets food for other people. Squidbat is very social. He likes to climb into caves and meet other bats. Squidbat doesn’t like Parrots though because they are more famous than he is, because they can talk. Squidbat can protect you because he has lots of friends for backup.
Here's the artist himself in a Robosaurus shirt: 

And Robosaurus's bio: 
Robosaurus likes to watch movies like King Kong and Godzilla because they can climb buildings. Robosaurus saves people who are in trouble. He’s like a superhero. He doesn’t like it when people get hurt, seriously hurt. He is really nice and will save you when you are in trouble. He will be your bodyguard.
Did I mention that Holden was five years old when he drew Squidbat, four-and-a-half when he created Robosaurus, and that he comes up with all the character bios himself? 

Lucky for me, Holden agreed to spend a few minutes of his summer vacation on an interview. 

BMCB: How did you get started with drawing?

HL: Well, at first I wanted to do something creative and I wanted to draw. Then I got so obsessed with it I just started drawing everywhere. I was drawing my dad. I was drawing all sorts of things.

Why do you like to draw?

I like to draw because whenever I'm bored I have something to do, I can draw whatever I want.
How did you get the idea to put your characters on t-shirts?

Well, in pre-k I was invited to a party for my friend Henry, and his mom said "no gifts" but to draw a picture. But I draw pictures every day, so I asked my mom if we could put the drawing on a tee shirt to make it better and different. My friend really liked it.

Do you have a favorite character?

My favorite character is Clobster or Robosaurus, because Robosaurus was pretty much my first character. I drew him at a school camp.

Do kids and grown-ups see your art differently?

Well, one adult thought I was copying SpongeBob because, Clobster…Mr. Krabs.

Clobster's bio: Clobster likes to make things equal. He’s kind of like Robin Hood, and he watches that movie a lot. If someone has more and you have less, he will make it even. The people he takes from don’t even know it because they have so much already. He has a special talent and can make pearls from sand that he gives to all of his friends.
Do you have any favorite artists?

Tim Burton

Where can people find your stuff?

Craft shows, street fairs, Etsy and Piccolina in SE Portland.

[BMCB: Seattleites, take note. Holden Lee Tees will also be at the Urban Craft Uprising, August 1-2 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.]

What are you working on next?

A new Etsy shop, caramelcockatoo, with one-of-a-kind artist trading cards only. 

The artist at work. 

Thanks, Holden.  Keep drawing!


  1. Aww this is so adorable and he really is very gifted. I especially like what he said about why he draws, "I like to draw because whenever I'm bored I have something to do, I can draw whatever I want." I've had a bout of creative block for a while now and hearing a comment like that is kind of inspiring and captures what I miss so much about drawing.

  2. I agree. He's totally inspiring.

  3. Props to his parents for that level of encouragement. He'll go far with that kind of support. Very cool.

  4. Definitely an inspiration to all creative-minded adults, to tap into the childish side of our work!

  5. His vocabulary is amazing! and his art is out of this world wonderful!!!!!

  6. He is a very unique and smart boy. I agree that he seems to be getting really great support to be creative from his parents!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.