Ask an artist. A commute to New Island with Lee Mothes. - Ep. 12

Lee Mothes has details. Lots of them, and they are all in service to his creation of The Commonwealth of New Island, a fictional island-nation in the south Indian Ocean. His real world graphite drawings, acrylic paintings, and watercolors have details so strong, they’ll slap you in the face if you aren’t careful.

You might see only a masterful, realistic drawing of a beach, but that beach likely has a name given to it by the first people to arrive on New Island in the late 1700’s who were shipwrecked English convicts en route to Australia — *SLAP*. That beach might be right next to an electric railway that was built by the Russians and carries a train car built in 1956 that, in 1982, was gifted to New Island by the people of Czechoslovakia — *SLAP*. And, it is absolutely possible that the beach in that painting, or the area next to it, is deeded to a real world person who paid real world money for the New Island property to build their dream house on — *SLAP*.

These details are everywhere, and they seem to be endless. Lee has created flags, government seals, currency, train tickets, walking paths, beach sand samples, cities, counties, and even railway timetables. This is just a glimpse into the world of New Island. The only way to get an understanding is to get lost in the story that Lee has created. You can start this journey with the video above, and the links below. If that isn’t enough for you, and you find yourself looking to visit a Wisconsin art gallery, stop in at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea and head upstairs. Here, you can visit the current location of the embassy of The Commonwealth of New Island for the rest of the details.


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