We talk to artist Sandra Lee about hope, the little girl in her and things that last forever.

Whether you’re a hardened realist or a misty-eyed romantic, the concept of the “ever after” must have crossed your mind. It certainly crossed visual artist Sandra Lee’s mind—for she returns for the second and last time as Marina Mandarin’s artist-in-residence, in her second solo outing cryptically named The Plight of the Ever After. We spoke to Lee about her intriguing pen and ink drawings, and whether she believes in the “ever after.”

You use black, red and white in your drawings. We’re guessing—black represents death, red represents violence and white represents innocence?
Ha ha. Good one. That’s one way of looking at it. As much as I express my thoughts and feelings through my work, I like the viewer to interpret it using their own experiences. The red in some my paintings to me represents hope.

What are the main themes in your work?
The overall theme is the search for answers as we journey through life, symbolized by the girl in the chair. My work reflects my interest in things that might or might not be, things that are not solved for us. The solutions to these mysteries lie in a place that is close to us yet far away from our imagination. Some other themes include seeing and believing, displacement, identity and death. But most of all it’s about hope.

Does the girl in your drawings represent yourself? Or is she a character you created and if so, why?
All the characters that I create are part of my personality. Then again it could also be part of you! The little girl in the drawings represents that little person that still resides somewhere in every adult, I think. At least she still resides in me.

Are your drawings metaphorical depictions of your own experiences?
Yes. It’s partially autobiographical, based on memories past and present, and a mix of dreams.

OK. So what in your opinion lasts forever?
Nothing lasts forever. Even memories fade. But it’s nice when the good ones linger a while.