The artist spent Mother’s Day with a group of die-hard Supreme fans and a large Supreme-wrapped crucifix.
There are plenty of ways to spend Mother’s Day but a relatively uncommon one is marching around New York City in the rain with a small group of die-hard Supreme fans and a “Supreme Jesus.”
For Korean-American artist Ho Chul Jason Lee, whose work experiments with the strange and unexpected, yesterday was the perfect time for his two-hour fan march and street performance. He even welcomed the rain, stating that it enabled him to also tell his story about the hardships he encountered as a migrant from Korea.
To Lee—who identifies as an atheist—Supreme’s cult-like following has made it a new religion. “From my artistic philosophy, Supreme is Jesus. The Jesus that people hold up and blindly follow without like or dislike,” he explains. “To me, Supreme is also a woman.”
The march and fan-meet, he explains, was organized to celebrate Supreme 25th anniversary and the brand’s influence on youth culture. Gathering outside of Dover Street Market in New York and walking all the way to the Supreme store on Bowery Street in Soho, roughly a two-mile walk, Lee and the group of supporters and spectators would stop numerous times for different performance pieces involving model Chiara Charles and the Supreme-wrapped cross.
“I find the more traditional mediums boring,” he laughs. “My mediums of choice have been mud, water, fire, wood, and hair.”
It’s not Lee’s first time referencing Supreme in his work. His portfolio is full of juxtapositions that include Supreme, alongside other brands, current events, politics, and religion. However, he wasn’t introduced to Supreme until a few years ago. Lee grew up in rural Masan, South Korea, in a poor family, and describes his childhood self as “a bad kid.” Smiling, he recalls, “I was so dirty. I grew up catching wild moles and had very bad grades. I was too poor to wear anything like Supreme until a few years ago.”
Lee moved to Seoul to study printmaking at Hongik University as a teenager, and then, shocked by the big city, became determined to relocate to New York—a dream he achieved in 2006 at the age of 26. Working in hospitality to support his art, Lee is the current manager at karaoke bar MK Bar and Lounge in New York’s Koreatown, and describes himself as “a very good cook.” With that in mind, it’s little surprise that the “Supreme Jesus” performance was followed by an after-party with Supreme-inspired sushi omakase, coffee art, and live music.
Lee still considers himself to have the same rebellious spirit that made him such a “bad kid.” He wants to continue to push boundaries in the multi-media art space and play on modern pop culture, referencing Andy Warhol’s use of food items as art. He’s also currently working on a project called “Wall,” aiming to build Trump’s wall and then destroy it in the center of New York, “as the Berlin Wall was destroyed,” As he explains, “This is not only to oppose Trump but also to destroy boundaries between race.”
When asked if he ever worries about offending people with his religious references, he smiles and says: “I wouldn’t stop cooking if a few people didn’t like my food. This is just how I see the world.”