“Bubba the Fish” and Eugene Lee are… Becoming Extraordinary

At first glance Eugene Lee seems both highly ambitious and slightly confused. This is only a  veneer, behind which exists a highly focused, multifaceted mind that has much to contribute to the fields of art, design, medicine and music. As our TEDxConcordiaUPortland 2012 graphic designer, our planning team has much to thank him for.  Event posters and promotional materials will be teeming with his fish, specifically bubba.

Now, what you need to understand is that bubba the fish is much more akin to a black sheep, whose name isn’t dolly. Let me explain.  Bubba is red, whereas all of his fish kin are black. Bubba is as different from a clone as the DNA of same species fish will allow; in other words he’s the archetypal outlier.  Outliers are something that most TEDxsters will appreciate, which is why a smile will crack when you view this audacious fish in artistic action.

Eugene thought to name this painting series of “bubba the fish” after “semi-autobiographical” events that inspired him. Though not every caption such as, “bubba the fish articulates his feelings on climate change,” or “bubba the fish is surrounded by hipsters,” comes literally from Eugene Lee’s personal experience, he’s observed generalities in the world, specifically Portland, Oregon, and has articulated them through the life of an red fish, who is named after his roommate’s exceptionally fat cat.

Having grown up in Sudbury, MA, Eugene has a different take on Portland than people who’ve lived here their whole lives. He was especially attracted to the National College of Natural Medicine here in Portland, where he is a 4th year dual degree student of Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine. To heal and to help are his highest ambitions, and he doesn’t stop at Naturopathic Medicine.

Eugene is very into music, and loves to do experimental endeavors. He has a three piece minimalist Jazz trio who are self described as “a prtlnd bsd jzz trio tht plys mnmlst bbp.” Portland based, jazz, plays be-bop. You got it. Straight to the point. Eugene, however, doesn’t stop there. He has his own solo project where he gets even more creative than in his Jazz trio (if that’s even possible), and in 2009 he released, equilibrium on Pure Potentiality Records (2009) under the artist name of sunjae. Just like if you told him that fish of a color swim together, Eugene wouldn’t care if you said that you aren’t supposed to distort or put effects on saxophone bits. Eugene has an interest in a prospective combination of his naturalistic medicine studies and a healing, medically therapeutic aspect of music. His recordings already sound worldly and serene enough to sooth the blues away.

As you may already be thinking, Eugene Lee has a lot on his plate. How does he find time for it all? Did I mention that Eugene is a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do? He says that he is asked this question a lot. Not that one ever needs to justify such multifaceted success, but I think what we’re all wondering is what super-pill, life enhancing supplement he’s on the trial list for so that we can get signed up right away! The answer is none. “I allow myself to indulge in my passions very easily,” says Eugene, “More often than not I’m in pursuit of something I enjoy, and I don’t deny myself pleasure from the arts.”  We would all be wise to live by such advice.

With this list of accomplishments, diverse interests, and dedication to pursuing his passion, it’s easy to see why Eugene was a natural choice for this year’s event. As a friend of a planning team member, we knew a bit of his background but once we got to know him more, we truly learned how much not only his design matched our theme but how Eugene himself is on the fast track to becoming extraordinary.

Look for the designs of Eugene Lee in upcoming months on posters and TEDxConcordiaUPortland 2012, promotional materials!

by Hunter Brookshier

Hunter is a Communications and German major at Portland State University. He has always been interested in stories; how they’re told, who’s telling them, what the person telling them has experienced that makes them tell such a story. These are all fascinating questions to Hunter. Sometimes stories recount the facts, other times they exist only in the fragile framework of an idea. Many times, more often then not, stories are interesting, and occasionally, they’re all we dwell on for days and weeks and months after experiencing them. That’s why Hunter loves TED. It’s an organization that tells stories through the age old venue of public speech. TED is more than the sum of its parts. This isn’t an ad for TED, but really, why shouldn’t it be? TED connects brilliant minds, and tells the most interesting true stories in the world. Hunter is proud to be a part of TEDxConcordiaUPortland, and here he will continue to learn and grow. 

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2 Responses to “Bubba the Fish” and Eugene Lee are… Becoming Extraordinary

  1. Wonderful article about an amazing artist, musician, student, and friend! :)

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