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Noelle Lee and the International Hope Counterfeiters

Where do you think inspiration stems from?


I’ve always been fascinated with extraterrestrial life, horror films, sex culture, satanic rituals, sci-fi, paranormal phenomena, serial killers, that sort of stuff. My interest in these themes probably started from watching shows like The X-Files, Law and Order: SVU, and the Twilight Zone growing up.


Where do you believe your interest in cults started?


I was raised Christian with my mom telling me things like, "Marilyn Manson was Satan," so everything taboo interested me even more.


Do you find faith or belief childish?


Absolutely not. Faith and belief can mold your identity, and for many people, it gives them purpose in life. People typically associate faith and belief with religion, but it does not necessarily have to be. We all need something to believe in, especially in each other. So it's not childish at all; it's vital for survival.


Which cult leader do you relate the most to? Would you join their cult?


Definitely Heavens Gate. They believed Earth was visited by Aliens 2000 years ago and Jesus was controlled by an Alien. Members needed to board a UFO space ship in order to reach the Next Level by leaving their temporary containers (bodies) behind by committing suicide. It’s the perfect combination of extraterrestrials and religion—two things I find creepy/fascinating.


Have you ever been friends with a cult member?


Actually, I went to high school with a couple of classmates who were members of the Unification Church (Moonies). I didn’t know it was a cult until I asked my mom about it. I remember one of my friends was dating a boy who was a member of that cult/religion. His mom sent him to a Moonie camp in Korea for the summer, so he wouldn’t see her because Moonies have arranged marriages. He wasn’t even Korean. He had to climb a hill every day just to have service on his phone to text her.


How much money would you be willing to pay for Nike Decades?


Probably not that much. I see them going on Ebay for almost 7k right now, so I won’t be owning a pair anytime soon but if Nike decides to re-release them, I’d definitely buy a pair.


What was your favorite thing to draw as a child? Doodle in high school?


I would always draw cute little monsters and characters on the side of my test papers.


Where does the name International Hope Counterfeiters come from?


The cult leaders I’ve selected are from all different parts of the world, but the common thread between them is that they prey on people's desire for belonging, sell them false hope, and push forward their own agenda. I wanted to portray this criminal aspect.


What do you think is the hardest form of art to work with?


I hate working with charcoal—just the feeling when using it and getting it everywhere irks me.


What are your favorite mediums to work with?


For the past two years, my favorite mediums to work with when I’m drawing has been colored pencils and turpenoid as well as watercolor.


What do you think is the most peaceful way to die?


Maybe dying of happiness. I read somewhere that too much happiness can trigger a heart attack.


What do you think heaven looks like?


Unlimited buffet of all your favorite foods.


What was your last meal?


Korean BBQ with my mom.


What are words to live by?


Eat some food first and then figure it out.

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