BRIDGEPORT — Behold the "Giant Flying Glitter Boobies," a pop-up art gallery that just happens to be shaped like a pair of big shiny breasts, complete with LED lights shooting skyward.
"In a way, it's risky because I don't think anyone's ever done anything like it before," she said.
Lee has successfully lobbied the school's faculty, who've allowed her to create a hands-on project instead of writing a lengthy thesis in order to graduate.
"Look, what do I want to do after I graduate? I want to be making huge pieces of art, and this was the best way for me to convince them," she said.
After sketching out the idea and creating a scale model of the 10-foot-high, 30-foot-wide project, Lee sought funding to make the mobile art gallery a reality, first turning to arts groups for grant money.
No luck. Lee suspects the design turned off potential donors.
"If it was like, a turtle, it would've been OK," she said.
She then began selling hand-rolled sushi and reselling fresh Bridgeport Bakery doughnuts to her fellow art students to raise a little cash. Eventually, she turned to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
A deadline was set: 45 days to raise $1,100.
It was funded in six.
"Amazed," said Lee, who performs as a fire dancer, serves as a volunteer Chinese translator at Bridgeport's Benton House and leads a Chinatown Girl Scout troop.
The gallery will be similar to a pair of "hexayurts" structures originally designed for emergency disaster. She plans to cover them with reflective material, like that found on the back of compact discs, or shiny sticker paper, then top it with LED lights for nipples.
Inside, battery-powered lights will shine on works from visual and performance artists from Bridgeport and beyond. There may be yoga classes, too.
Outside, bands will perform in the cleavage.
She envisions trucking around the city, gathering strangers and artists to help erect the gallery at beaches, parks and other public places.
"I want it to be spontaneous and crazy. We go somewhere, then 'boom,' here we are," she said.
Permits? She said she's been calling around to different city departments to explain her project and keeps getting transferred around.
"A lot of people are like 'I don't even know what to do with you,'" she said.
Lee, who was born in San Francisco, wants people to know that the project isn't some sort of feminist statement, though she describes herself as a feminist.
"I want to explore why this disconnect happens, why this part of me is constantly judged, paid extra attention to, or treated with extra care. Why are breasts so blasphemous? I wish to question the gender norms that these feelings of confusion and self-doubt come from," she wrote. "I want to create something that comes from this soft and vulnerable place, but results in something strong and hard while still being beautiful."
The gallery is expected debut on the IIT campus in April.