The artist Ho Chul Lee, who goes by Jason, knew it was a dumb idea: a Supreme walk! What could spark more disdain, derision, or outrage than a bunch of diehard Supreme fans taking Mother’s Day to traverse Manhattan in honor of their favorite hyped-up brand? The 40-year-old Jason planned to walk from Dover Street Market to the newly relocated Supreme store on Bowery in Soho. Once the “performance” was over, the small group huddled up at a karaoke bar for Supreme-inspired sushi and “complimentary art latte by barista champion Jaewon Choi,” according to a press release.
The idea was already on the silly end of the spectrum, and then it started to rain. His friends told him not to go through with it, then left the walk themselves. This was fine with Jason. “Bad weather, bad time is good for me,” Jason said over the phone Monday. “Jesus walked through horrible things, you know what I’m saying?”
To Jason, this was his art, meant to convey the idea that Supreme is more than a company that makes clothes—something closer to its own religion. “I thought, ‘Why does everyone treat Supreme like God?’” Jason said. “They pray about expensive things.”
So, in New York’s Sunday downpour, Jason schlepped a cross, made out of PVC pipes bought at Home Depot and a sticker with the Supreme x Louis Vuitton pattern on it, to the brand’s store. His model friend Chiara Charles took to the cross in mock crucifixion. The reaction online was merciless: “They say: ‘I wish they all were dead right now,’ Jason told GQ in an interview on Monday. In other words: they demanded someone die for our hype. Amen.
GQ: How do you feel the Supreme Walk went yesterday?
Jason: The rain was so bad, so I expected nobody to come. So I said, “Yeah, but the Supreme Walk, the thing already sounds so stupid and dumb, right? Nobody would want to go.” So I said, “I’ll just try and do this.”
Everybody thinks about Supreme as just waiting and waiting in the line Thursday around 11 a.m. [for the store’s weekly drops] to spend money. So I said, “Let’s do something not just for money, let’s do something for us.” Bad weather, bad time is good for me. Jesus walked through horrible things, you know what I’m saying? There’s only five or six people? Let’s go. Nobody cares. My friend says, “I cannot stay here, it’s so bad” and they left. Only four people left and we went to Dover Street Market and then Hudson Yards.
Then we decided, let’s go to Soho. It was really late and really cold so I just took the subway.
What was the idea behind the cross?
I’m not a photo guy but I started taking photos because of David LaChapelle. I saw his work [Jesus Is My Home Boy]—like a commercial Jesus. Suddenly, I thought, “Why does everyone treat Supreme like God?” People really treat Supreme like gods. They pray about expensive things. Because I’m an artist I have to tell people my idea. Supreme and the religious cross, I try and mix them together—it takes like two years.
Are you a fan of Supreme?
I’m a big fan of Supreme but at the same time I hate her…because she’s so bad. I cannot take her.
Supreme is bad to you?
Supreme is like a bad lady. I can’t have her. She’s so rude and she’s so mean because she’s so attractive. She’s gorgeous.
You said that you thought the idea was stupid. Why do you say that?
Honestly, I don’t care what people thought about me—I’m dumb or bad or smart. Because I’m not a perfect person but I want to share my idea. It’s a stupid idea but I want to tell people. I know that stupid ideas can connect with people easily. Too deep and too good ideas are not really familiar to people. So my job as an artist is I have to tell people a really deep story with an easy way to understand. That’s my style.
What sort of reaction were you hoping to get out of people?
So far, it’s been one day and people are really making fun of me. They say: “I wish they all were dead right now.” People can complain to me but I’m not really a bad person. I want to tell people my idea.