At an early age Eileen Lei was inspired by the rawness of hip hop, reflecting her passion for storytelling and truth-telling through art. As a 2nd generation Chinese American born and raised in the Bay Area, Eileen is a product of community and cultural intersections. She picked up her first paintbrush at the age of 3, guided by her first art teacher - her grandmother. Eileen's childhood represented the complexity and beauty of growing up in the diverse culture of the Bay. She was raised simultaneously in the crowded and historical streets of San Francisco Chinatown and the hardened neighborhoods of Richmond, CA. Rebellious by nature, Eileen challenged the expectations of her traditional Chinese family. Her identity was shaped by her ability to pick up her pens and paintbrushes in order to express her growing pains through art and words. As a child, a teenager and an adult, this always fueled her evolution as a woman. It was the revolutionary spirit of Oakland, CA that shaped Eileen's social justice and feminist thinking.
The unique privilege of being nurtured by the cultural diversity in the Bay Area allowed Eileen to move to the unforgiving city of New York. It is here, in the city of dreams made or broken, where Eileen's creativity was both inspired to and forced to blossom - artistic creation in New York became not only a passion but a means and a necessity for survival and well-being. By day, Eileen works as a make-up artist. A woman's face is a natural extension of her art canvas, as much of her paintings reflect the strength and light of women. Her passion, however, lies in her easel where she is met with the continuous opportunity to tell a story.
Today, Eileen's art reflects the challenges and triumphs of rising against the odds - both self-imposed and socially-imposed. Her paintings are a meditation on courage, as this is the theme of the creative growth and evolution of Eileen as an artist. Courage not only allowed her to survive but it also allows her to lead a life that is reflective and truthful of her personal journey. As an artist, Eileen strives to be just that - courageous and honest.