‘Be Happy’ And Huge

See mural-sized reproduction of Jina Lee’s winning painting
Be Happy

Self-taught Preston Hollow artist Heajung Jina Lee painted a path of trees to represent the walk of life and the journeys everyone takes.

“I hope people will be happy by looking at my painting and also think that they can also follow their dreams no matter what age group they are in,” Lee said in the fall after her artwork went on display for one year in downtown Dallas.

Be Happy won the Catholic Foundation’s 16th annual Art on the Plaza competition, earning Lee a $2,500 stipend and a high-visibility exhibition opportunity.

Her painting, selected by panelists from the Dallas arts community, was digitally reproduced to mural-size dimensions and installed on the plaza’s 28-foot-long by 9-foot-wide public art wall at Catholic Foundation Plaza at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

To fit that space in the Dallas Arts District, submissions had to measure 28 inches by 9 and 2/3 inches but did not need a religious theme as long as they remained respectful.

Lee’s painting, Artists’ Journey

“We look forward to the opportunity to showcase the talents and creativity of Texas artists in our annual Art on the Plaza competition,” said Matt Kramer, president and CEO of The Catholic Foundation. “This competition serves as a chance for artists to put their mark on downtown Dallas.”

With the location in mind, Lee wanted to create a beautiful landscape that contrasts with the downtown buildings and spiritually connects to people with pops of color and greenery.

Lee, a retired auditor, has painted throughout her lifetime. She learned color theory with extensive practice.

“My goal is going to become a professional artist,” Lee said, adding she also wants “to make myself a little bit different than all the artists out there because you want to find your own voice and your own style.”

To that end, she enrolled full-time at Dallas College’s North Lake Campus, where she is using the “best time of my life” to learn and explore art styles and mediums.

“Now, this is my time,” Lee said. “I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to really study art.”

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