Artist Ho Chul Lee Talks Yesterday's Supreme Walk 2019

Artist Ho Chul Lee Talks Yesterday's Supreme Walk 2019

VMAN speaks to the artist behind the Supreme Walk 2019

VMAN speaks to the artist behind the Supreme Walk 2019

Text: James Manso

Yesterday, the inaugural Supreme Walk 2019 took place in New York City (as well as the subsequent afterparty). VMAN sat down with the artist behind the event/performance, Ho Chul Lee, and he talks his favorite Supreme pieces, his involvement with the brand, and how he thinks they've both disrupted and impacted mass-market fashion.

With a background in mixed media, photography, and performance art, what inspired a performance for the walk? Is this new territory for you?

This was definitely a new, challenging attempt for me. At Seoul’s Hongik University I majored in fine arts and printmaking. It was only when I moved to the U.S. that I started experimenting, taking pictures and drawing with a variety of materials. I’ve carried out several collaborations in the past, but this was the first solo attempt and stab at a diverse range of functions. Although it was challenging, the initiative opened up my artistic universe.

Where did your relationship with Supreme start?

Supreme underwear, T-shirts, etc were what I first experienced through my friends when I moved to the U.S. They were fashionable and liked Supreme. It was only natural that I yearned for everything Supreme and hoped to become their friends.

How did your involvement with the first annual Supreme Walk start?

Back in 2017, the limited-edition release and pop up of the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration was canceled in New York due to safety concerns. Most people were nonchalant, but I was devastated — especially because New York is home to Supreme. As a huge fan of the brand, I wanted to take on this project to make known that we (New Yorkers) are its original owners and bring Supreme back home.

How similar is this to past projects you’ve done?

Very similar. I like to work involving risk. I feel joy when handling materials I’ve never used before; taking on projects that are dangerous and require vandalism; finding work that is hard to accomplish. I decided to carry out the walk even though I knew that there’d be a lot of rain; as expected, not a lot of people showed up. Neither did the Vessel nor Supreme SoHo welcome my work, and at one point they tried to shut the whole thing down. Although we faced minor roadblocks along the way, we were able to continue shooting with our Supreme fans’ support. I am and will always be the child who won’t listen and takes on things that are taboo.

How would you describe Supreme’s impact on streetwear, and specifically menswear, throughout the past 25 years?

Supreme changed everything. It is no longer just a fashion brand. Supreme demolished pre-existing boundaries including consumption patterns, definition of style, difference of doing good and bad, and what’s modern and classic. It is a conversation starter bringing kids and adults together as friends.

What’s your favorite Supreme piece you own?

Supreme X New York Yankees Leather Jacket, and Supreme X Nike Airforce 1.

Click through the slideshow below to see more from the SUPREME Art Walk 2019 and the subsequent afterparty.

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