Illustrator and Animal-lover, Lee Chin-lun／藝術作為愛的擴音器─李瑾倫
Illustrator and Animal-lover, Lee Chin-lun
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting ◎Photos by Yeh Yu-ci
Prestigious author-illustrator, Ms. Lee Chin-lun, admits that she often didn't concentrate when she was a student and was addicted to daydreaming in class. Her mind was always wondering and never on her school work. After she graduated, she worked in Taiwan for a while, but then quit her job and went to learn Japanese in Japan.
In 1990, she held her first illustration exhibition in Tokyo. This was her first step in realizing her goal of becoming an illustrator. Her illustrations were published in a Taiwanese children's book called, Spit the Seeds, which earned a Children's Literature Award from Taiwan's Hsin-Yi Foundation. In 1997, Ms. Lee attended a Royal College of Art, graduate program in London. During that time she published several books, one of which was about her experiences studying in Britain called, The Light from a Window Seat.
Ms. Lee is a true animal lover, which is evidenced through her illustrations. This can be seen in her books, The Very Kind Rich Lady and Her One Hundred Dogs and Good Dog, Paw which were published while she was studying in England. Ms. Lee also worked as a volunteer at an animal hospital in Taiwan. This became the inspiration for her book, Animal Hospital No. 39. She also published a book without illustrations called, No End to Love, which was reminiscent of her pets that have since passed away.
She has now returned to Taiwan and launched her own brand called "Chinlun". This came about after she went to show her illustrations and read her books to children in Hualien and Taitung Counties. She decided to create writing mats that the children could make into practical and memorable gifts. The writing mats have been designed with her various characters that are in her illustrations. She has now added other products to her brand, such as postcards, notebooks and stationary.
Her store, Bandon Grocery Store at Pier-2 Art Center, is named after her dog. It sells a wide range of items, including her illustrations, her brand's products and other goods that have been created both locally and internationally. Visitors can also order beverages at the shop while sitting down to write postcards. Ms. Lee collects donations to assist animals, while she also donates a portion of her income to assist animal rescue and stray adoption programs.
Ms. Lee says Bandon Grocery Store provides a pet rescue and stray adoption program. She explains that one night some kittens tried to sneak into the shop after it had closed. Now, she leaves out cat food and water for strays. She hopes that stray animals will always find her shops a safe haven. She has also established Huei Huei Animal Friendly Association, Kaohsiung, which she hopes will promote greater social awareness and sympathy toward animals. She is currently developing a cargo container building that is designed to assist in animal rehabilitation, animal psychological counseling and an exhibition space. Through this, she wants to educate that, "people that are to blame for animal problems and not the animal themselves".
Ms. Lee's illustrations have transformed animals into humorous characters, through which she spreads awareness; she hopes that more people will become animal lovers. Furthermore, Ms. Lee has also been able to develop a shelter for Kaohsiung's stray animals. Ms. Lee's sympathy and respect for pets are certainly commendable and exemplified through her illustrations.