I am a firm believer that you meet the most interesting and inspiring people in life in the most unanticipated ways at the most unexpected times.
Such is the case with Numyi Lee.
I used to get my nails done at a place on Bleecker street in the village. I went regularly (shocking, I know!) and had a great relationship with the owner, Anne, and some of the other manicurists. They were all so sweet and didn’t seem to mind my peculiar perfectionistic tendencies – like streaks only I could see that needed immediate fixing.
Since switching jobs about a year and a half ago, I now get my nails done at a place closer to my office… but every so often I pop into Anne’s since she is open late on Sundays. And starting the week with a fresh mani is always a perk.
I was there last on a Sunday in mid-June and one of the manicurists remembered me from my old days. Despite her very warm welcome, I really only knew her on a surface level so we did some surface level catching up. She was so excited for me that I had a new job that I loved. It was truly endearing and, admittedly, I was a little surprised at her genuine happiness for me. I began asking about how she’s been and – alas – more surprises!
As it turns out, Numyi is an incredibly talented artist from South Korea, with a Master of Fine Arts from Pratt! Her work had just been displayed in a solo exhibition. She took my card and sent me to her website: numyiart.com. Her work conveys sadness juxtaposed with natural beauty. Some of it is beautiful and some of it disturbing, and all of it is a testament to her talent as an artist.
I have always contended that women are multidimensional, with unforeseen layers and depth. But I still feel a sense of pride when I find other women are more than what I (and society perhaps) initially sees and expects.
Numyi and I last emailed in June. Today, I saw her name in my inbox and I was excited for whatever news her message would share.
Apparently, NINE of Numyi’s pieces were rented for the movie AMERICAN GANGSTER with Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, most of which appear in Denzel’s character’s house. Her black and white work even appears in the movie’s trailer. That sense of pride I had soared.
Who knew she was gansta??
More, Numyi’s art will appear in an upcoming Felicity Huffman film called Phoebe in Wonderland as well as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 starring America Ferrara.
Numyi is so much more than meets the eye, and I’m so happy to know her and support her.