Lee Shi-min (born 1968) is a Chinese contemporary artist.
Lee Shi-min is a conceptual symbolist-colorist whose primary medium is oil on canvas.
He uses the term digitalism for digital pointillism using digits or fingers as the applied points, as opposed to the cultural movement that began in the 1980s which involved the increasing use of computer technology to produce art works.
His work, which is primarily figurative and usually well-structured, often employs stylized representations of historical or symbolic figures. Critics and peers alike have described Lee Shi-min's works as organic, intuitive and cerebral and the artist as a "true original" with an affinity for traditional aesthetics, order, balance and symmetry, who defines and refines through a sense of history.
In August 2006 at a private sale in Hong Kong, his painting titled Innocence sold for an amount exceeding US$ 1 million, a record for the artist at the time.
He is the founder and creator of Canal Chine, Cheng Chuang (City Window) urban art and Dangdai Dolls: The Great Doll of China (also known as The Great Doll of the People and The Doll of Peace and Harmony)  based on his Dangdai character series along with accompanying anthem March of the Dolls which he has affectionately termed a "dollonaise" after the grand tradition of the polonaise.
In 2008, he coined the terms organiflage, inorganiflage and grafflage, the former in particular reference to his interlocking puzzle-piece arrangements of animist forms, the latter a contraction of graffiti and camouflage. His 2009 written work Graffiti Treaty was intended as an appeasement to city officials and law enforcement in defense of graffiti as an artform with a rich, multi-cultural heritage.
His works have been exhibited in the Americas, Asia and Europe and form a part of the collections of major museums, galleries and important collectors, including Louis Vuitton Malletier, Maria Sharapova, and the Clinton Private Collection.
"I endeavor to preserve the cardinal rule of pictures and retain an air of mystery by not expounding excessively on my own work. To do so would defeat the purpose of the artform, and for me the viewer's interpretation is as important if not more so," explained the artist. "I am however fascinated by visual perceptive and synesthetic phenomena, innovative artisan approaches and techniques, and like to interpret morphologies, in particular similar ones bearing different functions. Art is essentially an exact or inexact science of design; ubiquitous, ever-present and accessible. When my work attains a level of beauty, it is finished, right and complete. Art gives my life meaning and is the passion and driving force thereof and in. However, one must be selective in realizing works as art ends with life."
The artist disclosed:
"As in any other field, a work which is ideologically strong albeit roughly rendered is infinitely better than a weak one well executed. That being said, I always endeavor to take full advantage of a paint's light-fast, transparent, opaque and reflective qualities. In order to create an interesting composition with complex geometry, I employ a combination of linear and curvi-linear lines to break up the formwork. On another level, elements or layers may be introduced to build up a piece until the canvas is satisfactorily full akin to infrastructural development. Where possible, I follow natural, fluid, flowing lines. On some occasions I sketch, paint, and dry my work on a flat horizontal surface so the canvas becomes steeped in pigment and the work acquires a certain gravity. The final work is akin to a stage performance, where characters form the content, and preparatory sketches like rehearsals to weed out weaknesses. In another light, the approach to completion is similar to that of a sensual climax one as the stroke rate typically becomes retarded or markedly decreased for control. Brush head control including speed, pressure and contact angle, stroke length, direction and follow-through, and the right tools are also important. I visually assess a work, in part, peripherally, similar to discerning a faint twinkling star in the night sky, so as to ensure a strong impression."
Apart from the great masters, the artist professes to admire, among his contemporaries, Chen Danqing, Liu Xiao and Zhao Wenyuan. The artist has cited Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and Vermeer as among the most important Western artists in shaping his artistic outlook.
1. "Art is proof nothing in the world is perfect." (January 1997, Beijing)
2. "The line between beauty and ugliness is subtle and subjective." (January 2000, New York)
3. "Nothing is better than bad art." (March 2001, Beijing)
4. "An artist should be all mixed up." (September 2004, New York)
5. "Love opens the eye to beauty." (February 2006, Hong Kong)
6. "An imperative of the impressionist-expressionist is recognizable semblance." (August 2008, Beijing)
-- Chinese to English Translation by Chun Bai Xue
Serial Titles and Descriptions
Abstractions (2001 - active)
Bodies of Water (2004)
Butterfly Lovers (2003-2004)
Dangdai Dolls: The Great Doll of China
Enigma (2000 - active)
This series includes works bearing messages, meanings or concepts encoded in the painting.
Enu: fom (full-on minimalism) abstract enumerative works.
Visual plays on forms of Chinese opera masks symbolizing changes in identity and character.
Paper Cuts (2005-2006)
This series of works consists of a number of paintings rendered in the form of traditional Chinese paper-cutting art.
Siheyuan / Hutong
Year of the Monkey
-- Chinese to English Translation by Bai Yi Lan
Selection of Recent Works
Dangdai Dolls: The Great Doll of China character series (2008~ ).
Hua Koi Tie (2008); tributary painting of the Honourable Donald Tsang Yam-kuen; oil on canvas.
Hong Kong Equestrian (2008); oil on canvas.
Monkey King Diptych: Parts I and II (2008); oil on canvas.
Painting 911 (2006); oil on canvas; a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September, 2001, on the 5th anniversary of the tragedy.
Painting 981 (2006); oil on canvas; a satirical tribute to Puyi, China's last emperor, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Paper Cuts (2005-2006); oil on canvas; a series of paintings executed in the style of traditional Chinese paper-cutting art.
Sineyes (2005); oil on canvas; China's changing urban landscape from a denizen's point of view.
Berry Bliss (2005); oil on canvas; a tribute to John Lennon on the 25th anniversary of his untimely death.
Master of the Universe (2005); oil on canvas; a tribute to Albert Einstein on the 50th anniversary of his passing.
Mao Playing Cards (2004); oil on canvas.
Mao X (2004); oil on canvas.
Castro's Cuba (2003); oil on canvas.
Colors Triptych (2003); oil on canvas.
Paranoia Profiles (2003); oil on canvas.
Wine Series (2002); oil on canvas.
Ho Chi Minh Ho (2002); oil on canvas.
Mao State Trooper (2001); oil on canvas.
Nite and Day (2001); oil on canvas.
Mask Series (1998-2001); oil on canvas.
Xiao Long Mao (No Dumpling) (2001); oil on canvas.
Year of the Snake (2001); oil on canvas.
Enigma Series (2000 - active); oil on canvas.
Abstractions: Digital Series (2000); oil on canvas.
Peace, Brother (2000); oil on canvas.
World Peace (2000); oil on canvas.
Selection of Early Works
The Lost Empresses (1999); oil on canvas; a statement on the demographic consequence of China's one-child policy.
Zhong Xing (Star of China) (1999); oil on canvas.
Gandhi Salt (1998); oil on canvas; a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on the 50th anniversary of his death.
Nanjing's Mount Fuji (1998); oil on canvas.
The Corner (1998); oil on canvas.
Vanity Room (1997); oil on canvas.
Soul (1997); oil on canvas.
Bargirl (1996); oil on canvas.
Maiden China (1996); oil on canvas.
Innocence (1995); oil on canvas.
- Bibliography: third entry citation
- Dangdai Dolls: The Great Doll of China
Qiang, Tian Cai. Above the Chinese Temple Garden (Hong Kong: Octapress, 2008).
Ting, En'Chan. Paint Don't Walk (Hong Kong: Octapress, 2006).