Korean artist grandpa, 75, who drew for grandchildren gets art exhibition

He draws for them everyday.

By Mandy How | March 14, 2017

A 75-year-old Korean grandfather has put up an exhibition in Costa Rica showcasing his hand drawn works.

Boys, believe it or not, grandpa is having a very first exhibition. Can you imagine of all places, it's happening in beautiful Costa Rica? We tried to be there for the opening, but because of an unexpected circumstance, we couldn't make it, but we're very happy! Until recently, I thought my drawings were not that great but so many people seem to like them to the point of wanting to exhibit them in an museum and I couldn't be more thankful. The exhibition is taking place at @museomadc (Contemporary Museum of Art and Design) in San Jose. They've picked 80 drawings and did a beautiful job. By the photos, people seem to enjoy them. Thank you very much Fiorella Resentera (director of the museum), Osvaldo Lopez (museographer), @alfredoenciso & @pacocervilla (founders of @fidcr International Festival of Design in Costa Rica) and @salgueromoya (writer) who made this exhibit happen. #drawings #exhibition #madc #fid #sanjose #costarica Meninos, acreditem ou não, o vovô está tendo a primeira exibição. Vocês podem imaginar de todos os lugares que está acontecendo na bela Costa Rica? Tentamos estar lá para a abertura, mas por um motivo inesperado, não pudemos, ainda assim estamos muito felizes! Até recentemente eu pensava que meus desenhos não eram tão bons, mas tantas pessoas parecem gostar deles ao ponto de querer exibi-los em um museu e não podería estar mais grato. A exposição está acontecendo em MADC (Museu Contemporâneo de Arte e Design) em San Jose. Escolheram 80 desenhos e fizeram um belo trabalho. Pelas fotos, as pessoas parecem gostar delas. Muito obrigado Fiorella Resentera (diretora do museu), Osvaldo Lopez (museógrafo), Alfredo Enciso e Paco Cevilha (fundadores da FID, Festival Internacional de Design) e Karina Salguero Moya (redatora) por ter feito essa exposição acontecer. 얘들아. 믿지 못하겠지만 할아버지의 첫 전시회가 열리게 되었단다. 그것도 아름다운 코스타리카 나라에서. 개막식을 계획했는데 그만 어렵게 되어 버렸어. 그렇지만 할아버진 너무 행복하단다. 전시회 한다고 했을 때 '그림들이 작은데 어떨까? ' 걱정했었어. 그런데 준비하는 분들 생각으로는 문제가 되지 않았나 봐. 전시회는 코스타리카의 수도 싼 호세의 《현대미술관》-MADC-에서 열리고 80 작품을 선보인다. 모든게 궁금하겠지만 우선 사진으로 즐기기를 ….. 무엇보다 할아버지 할머니는 전시회를 마련해 주신 모든 분들께 인사 드려야겠다. "고맙습니다. 수고많으셨습니다. "

A post shared by Chan Jae Lee (@drawings_for_my_grandchildren) on

Chan Jae Lee, who has accumulated 252,000 and more Instagram followers over the years, has quite the story.

grandfather featured

Here’s what happened:

According to his son Ji Lee, Chan Jae Lee is a grumpy man.

This is my father

The Korean grandfather lives in Brazil and he used to ferry his grandchildren (also Ji Lee’s nephews) Arthur and Allan to school on a regular basis.

These are my nehpews


One day, Ji Lee’s sister and her family (including Arthur and Allan) moved back to Korea.

Having nothing much to do, the grandfather spent his days watching Korean TV. His family got worried about him.

Remembering that he used to draw for his children when they were younger, Ji Lee encouraged his father to draw again and post his drawings on Instagram.

But Jae Lee hated the idea. The elderly man, who was 73 years old then, had never heard of Instagram, and had never used Gmail, or even Google.

Ji Lee’s tech-savvy mother, however, came to the rescue: She took the pictures he drew and posted it on Instagram for him on his behalf.

this is my mum


Ji Lee admits that the first few drawings his father made weren’t the best (in less polite terms).

not so nice 2

not so nice 3

not so nice 4

not so nice 1


But subsequently, his drawings got better:

drawings got better


Nonetheless, his father still didn’t take a liking to drawing for Instagram — he didn’t understand why he had to do it.

Then Ji Lee had a son, Astro.

baby astro


When his father came to visit Ji Lee and Astro in New York, the young man was determined to teach him how to use Instagram.

But his father, Astro’s grandfather, still hated it.

Until one day, Jae Lee wondered what Astro will be when he grows up, because he knows he won’t be around to see it.

Ji Lee got sad, not only with the acute realisation of his father’s death, but also with the fact that Astro will never get to know his grandfather well.

Then, Ji Lee had an idea: His father could draw for Astro, Arthur, and Allan, and his Instagram would be called “Drawings For My Grandchildren”.

Jae Lee agreed.

ok i can do that


Suddenly, at 73 years old, the elderly man was eager to draw and use Instagram. It was hard at first, but Ji Lee managed to teach his father how to use the app.

Jae Lee uploaded many poignant drawings of shared memories and future plans with his grandchildren, and even bit and pieces about their daily lives. His wife wrote the captions.

poignant 1

poignant 2

poignant 3

poignant 4

poignant 5


Then, Ji Lee had another idea. He thought his father should hold an exhibition to sell his drawings, which could fund a trip to see his grandchildren back in Korea.

He bought the first drawing Jae Lee made.

i bought his first painting


From then on, Jae Lee drew everyday. His drawings have also made the family closer.

because of my dad's project


And just three days ago, Jae Lee had his first exhibition in San José, Costa Rica.

exhibition in san jose


This year, he is 75 and still grumpy.

But this year, Jae Lee also has 252,000 Instagram followers, and more than 500 drawings for his grandchildren.

insta header


Watch the full video below or visit Jae Lee’s Instagram page here.


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About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry.

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