Hwayo Honorary Dinner for Asian Artists Toasts ‘Beef’ Star Joseph Lee

As part of its introduction to the U.S. market, Korean soju brand Hwayo is toasting creative excellence within the broader Asian creative community.

Hwayo Honors is a new event series that aims to bring together artists from multiple disciplines – fine arts, film and television, fashion and more – in the most family-friendly of settings: the dinner table. “We were inspired by films like Eat Drink Man Womansays Vy Le, Global Brand Director of Hwayo. “There are a lot of people who say, ‘Oh, here’s the sponsorship money.’ Let’s not do that. Let’s just call our friends and see how we can try to support each other.

As a Los Angeles-based artist whose work frequently intersects with activism, Glenn Kaino was a natural partner to co-host, with Hwayo President Lucia Cho, the inaugural dinner in Los Angeles. “I spent a lot of my career advocating for artists,” says Kaino, whose first appeal was to the painter and Beef star Joseph Lee, whose style takes impasto to the extreme, with thickly applied oil fragments giving his portraits a three-dimensional texture. Kaino decided to pair Lee’s work with the innovative photography of Bruce Mau by organizing the first Hwayo Honors artist double bill, which took place on May 29 at a private residence in Laurel Canyon.

Hwayo Global Brand Director Vy Le (far left), Hwayo President Lucia Cho (center, in floral dress) and artist Bruce Mau (far right) with guests at the Hwayo Honors dinner on May 29.

Lisa Bolden

Both artists presented their work to the intimate group of 30 guests, including Olympic champion Chloe Kim, former ABC Studios International CEO Keli Lee, celebrity stylist Joe Zee and Quantum leap Starring Raymond Lee. “So many themes come from my wife [Namu Home Goods founder Diana Ryu]“Observations of myself, like my tendency to struggle to be present,” said Joseph Lee, who called his painting technique “the practice of being present in oil fragments.” With every blow, there is permanent forgiveness. You may not like the choice of colors, but you should respect it.

Lee also explained the vulnerable story behind the painting he chose to display during the meal. “Same Differences” is a still life of a bouquet of brightly colored flowers, representing the parting gift he would have liked to give to his father, with whom he had a strained relationship at the time of his death approximately ten years ago years. At the bottom of the painting are his father’s last words to him and Lee’s interpretation of them: “I’m sorry. I love you.”

‘Same differences’ 48×36 in Oil, pastel on wood

Joseph Lee

Alongside generous pours of the five sojus from the Hwayo collection – four proofs ranging from 17 to 53, plus a premium XP variety, aged in American oak…

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