Meet the Artist

Aloha, this website is Lani’s gallery.

Lani under a breadfruit tree
Lani under a breadfruit tree
photo by Danielle Shemesh

Lani Jungeun Lee


Lani had always wanted to be a painter ever since she was a little kid. From an early age, she loved to observe things, to paint nature, animals and people around her. She was born and raised in Seoul, Korea, majored in fine arts in college and got a bachelor degree in 1998. Then she had to work for a living rather than pursuing her dream. So, she had been working as a graphic designer in fashion industry for many years. One day, she thought that she should not delay her dream any longer. So whenever time allowed, she traveled around the world to find a place, where she would be able to be committed to her paintings. After traveling country to country, one day she eventually found one. A perfect place full of inspirations would let her make dreams come true. She fell in love with the island. In 2014, She moved to Oahu, Hawai’i. And there, a Hawaiian friend gave her a nickname, Lani, meaning “heavenly” in Hawaiian. She wanted to make her life like heavenly in Hawai’i with her life as a full-time painter begun. But even in heavenly places, life would never be easy by nature. She melts her own multilayered Hawaiian life in her paintings. Also she has been painting local plants in the islands, wildlife, the ocean and residents of the Hawaiian islands.

Artist’s Statement

“Lani”. This is a big theme in my works, a motto in my life as an Hawaiian islander, and also my Hawaiian nickname. My works are the past, reality, and hopes for the future. The more I explored potential subjects to paint, the more I became interested in environmental issues and those of ecosystem of the earth. I learned about many foreign plants and animals brought in and ended up living here in various reasons like people would. We are the creature of circumstances but often become oblivious of those once we took for granted. Once being oblivious, we become blind to irreversible damages we are inflicting to the environment. We must stop facing away from cruel truths. I dreamed to paint heavenly things in heavenly islands. But heaven never comes free. The more beautiful, the more prone to damage. We must keep awaken toward our environment.


1998 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dankook University, South Korea

* has regularly been donating to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, an international non-governmental organization, to help the wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment) and Hawaii Foodbank.