Chatting with Ginko Ching Lee

May 24, 2015

2003b12070bca44445ad245d20161707Open Studios Tour days are coming with ever-expanding locations and attractions. Co-founder Ginko Ching Lee was kind enough to answer some questions…

HP: What is Open Studios?

Ginko: We have options of going in a few different directions; some have suggested we have 7-10 artists vendors in one place and run it like a market place.

We finally, as a group, settled into having it like a house party. This is inspired by Patrick and Mary Gothard’s open studio at their house/studios. It always has good food and a whole bunch of friends—that’s what we all enjoy—and Open Studios wants to replicate them all around town in each and every studio. In their own unique ways, of course.

HP: And what do you think is unique about this Open Studios event?

Ginko: Open Studios feels more like visiting the artist friend that you’ve known for a long time. When you step into studios, several artists and other art lovers are already there, sharing some food and talking about the art.

Sometimes it is not about the art at all, we have seen visitors asking about the construction of the backyard studios and some will admire the creative ways that a bench is being made. It is a rich experience. We encourage long-term relationships between local artists and art lovers.

HP: Can you tell us about Ginko the artist?

Ginko: I have a background in editorial design and cartooning. It is related to my degree in Journalism and Communications in Hong Kong ( but in a very visual and artistic way.)  In my work, I do map design for clients all over the world and am also creating Children’s art on the side.




Ceramics is a pure creative outlet for me.  I feel lucky to be going to the Xiem Clay Center at N. Lake Ave. It is a treasure in our area. Many very accomplished ceramics artists go there, I often get very inspired by the high quality work that is created by the studio mates.

I came to ceramics very recently. Focus on hand-building ceramics. It is a process that involves making little creative decisions all along the way, which is very satisfying for me.

The raindrop ceramics are my creation out of necessity. I often forget things and each of these raindrops has a compartment behind it, so, hang it on the wall and hide something inside… it was my original intention.




I’m also the curator at Sidewalk Café. The folks at Sidewalk Café are great supporters of local art and artists. I have been curating for them as a volunteer for the last 3 years. We focus on local talents.

I also do chalk art at the Café once every few months. It is a 10 feet by 16 feet wall space that they painted in chalk paint for me, in two days, after I brought them the idea. It takes about 5-6 hours to create a piece of chalk art. It helps define the space and I enjoy seeing people posting it on Facebook and then settling under a great quote, reading a book, and enjoying a cup of coffee.




What keeps me creating? Making art is part of a natural inclination that is uplifting and satisfying. I see studio mates at Xiem who are in other professions but still coming to make things. Being creative is much bigger than a profession or career…. It is about being human in a most basic way. It is nice to be creating just for the sake of being free and seeing things come into being from idea to reality.

During Open Studios, I will be showing how we use all handmade ceramics created by my better half for everyday living and some of my ceramic artwork. The theme is about how art can be, and should be, a part of life.



HP: What is your favorite time of day and if you are free, what do you like to do with it?

Ginko: Late afternoon, when most things are said and done. I love to take my dog Ooga Booga for a walk to a nearby Little Library. It is a good walking distance and the books in this box suits my taste. I’ve gotten many of my leisure reading from there. (Should I share this? Location: Highland near Los Robles.)

HP: If you have a whole day off what would you do, see, eat, etc.?

Ginko: See: Window shopping at Golden Bug. I love their display and the selection of the goods. (I don’t really like the atmosphere once inside.)

Eat: 9 p.m. snacking at the Taco Truck parked at a Fair Oaks Auto shop between California and Del Mar. (Not the newer one on a street corner…). Best taco.

HP: What is your favorite vice?

Ginko: Day dreaming. Napping.

HP: What is your least favorite chore?

Ginko: Washing dishes. I love to cook. People who volunteer dish washing get invited back for dinner.




Open Studios Tour Days, June 6th and 7th. Fifty artists will be exhibiting at 25 locations (click here to see artists and examples of their works).

On Friday, June 5th, 5-9 p.m., McGinty’s Gallery at the End of the World is hosting a silent auction to benefit further Open Studios events, which are completely artist- and volunteer-organized. El Patron will cater the evening event, then the auction will continue through the weekend: Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. McGinty’s, 869 E. Mariposa St., Altadena 91001. Tel.: 1.626.794.4477.


Music, Food, and Fun Freebies:

Live Music at Gothard Art, Sun., 2-5
Featuring Robert Kyle and friends, Jazz combo.

Live Music at Knecht Studio, Sat. & Sun., 1-4
Featuring Jetstream. Blues, R&B, Rock and Jazz.

Live Drawings of Dancers, Sat.
By artist Valerie Daval, at the Altadena Library.
11-12, 12:30-1:30, 2-3:30, and 4-5

Free Drawing for a Deluxe Gift Basket
Courtesy of Hoopla, an Emporium of Good Things!
Visit 5 studios to qualify. Presence not required to win.

Free Gourmet Cheese Pizza Coupons
From the highly acclaimed Pizza Of Venice.
Coupons will be available at each location while supplies last.

Refreshments at most locations.






Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena