Ness Lee is an illustrator, painter, ceramicist and maker of all sorts. Her work is equally adorable as it is cheeky, often featuring sumo wrestlers, snacks and saucy parties. She has an impressive CV and long list of achievements all the while remaining incredibly down to earth.
Nuvango: How does your studio space help shape your practice? Does it have any sentimental or symbolic meaning to you? If you don't use one space consistently, have you found any changes in your work based on where (physically) you make it?
Ness: My studio space contributes heavily into my work. I suppose it is more like being in a comfortable environment free of my self conscious. If you ever see it is looks like a madhouse, filled with books and supplies everywhere but I feel at ease at the sight of it. Most of the time it feels like an escape, a period where I can truly think and not worry about problems. My studio feels like giant soft pillow rubbing my back letting me know it’s all going to be okay.
Nuvango: How did you get here? Tell me a little bit about your journey so far.
Ness: I studied Fine Arts at York University for a year and it just wasn't my cup of tea. I then discovered what illustration was (had zero knowledge of its existence at the time) and applied to OCADU for Illustration. I just loved the idea of conceptualizing through images and being given a problem to visually sort out. Being someone who finds it hard to truly articulate what I mean I found this to be very satisfying to be able to solidify concepts in illustrations and stand by it.
From OCADU I ventured off into my own thing. I began to care less about what others thought and focused more on what I wanted- and what I wanted was to explore anything and everything. I loved to create and use different materials and techniques. I started working a few jobs to fund these projects and really figure out what materials I like to work with. I also love crafting and merchandising. From this I started to do a few craft shows here and there-- for the most part it was to get my name out there and see how people perceive the work I was creating. I found such intense joy making these works so I just kept doing these shows- still am! Over a year ago I started to teach beginners ceramics and my ceramic journey truly evolved from there. Still teaching and exploring different creations. Growing and learning everyday-- staying persistent and positive. So thankful for all the love and support I have been receiving all these years.
Nuvango: What do you plan on creating while at Nuvango gallery? Do you have a specific project in mind?
Ness: I would love to continue to explore mural painting and large scale work- something that I am unable to do in my studio given the scale. I plan on painting walls or larger canvas pieces. I am also heavily interested in soft sculpture and hope to give it a shot during my time at the gallery. I'm very excited to begin!!