Desarae Lee was raised in the Rocky Mountains above Springville, Utah. After travels around the world, she settled just below the same mountain range in Salt Lake City, Utah where she currently lives and works. Her inclination toward art started early and followed her throughout her college career where she studied Art Education and Psychology.
Desarae held her first gallery exhibition at Kayo Gallery in 2012 and participated in her first Utah Arts Festival two months later, growing and solidifying a loyal fan base that continues to expand to this day. In 2015, Desarae’s art was shown at more than twenty-five arts festivals and art galleries in the United States. She has won awards including Best Illustrator (Salt Lake City Weekly), Best of Show (Tempe Festival of the Arts) and Featured Artist (ArtWalk San Diego).
Desarae is currently working with two publishers on three different art book projects and building a printmaking studio after running a successful Kickstarter campaign. She also serves as a Board Member for Salt Lake's Downtown Artist Collective.
Influenced by personal trauma and struggles with depression and anxiety disorders, Desarae creates work that revolves around themes of finding humor in pain, beauty in the grotesque, and light in the darkness. As comfortable referencing geek culture as she is bearing the depths of her soul, Desarae’s work ranges in theme but is always, as she says, “an attempt to connect the hidden places in myself to the hidden places in the viewer, to somehow create a bridge of communication over the immense expanse of our differing perceptions, beliefs, and experiences.”
Desarae’s technique revolves around using line to create value and texture. Working primarily with pen and ink, Desarae balances exact, meticulous line-work with natural, flowing compositions. Over time, her work has developed to include watercolor, tea-staining, and print-making. This shift results in more organic drawings that still maintain her original intricacy. It is within this juxtaposition of controlled pen and unpredictable watercolor that Desarae finds her voice. Desarae’s work begs you to understand her innermost being and through that gives you the courage to examine your own.