Inside the Studio: Ness Lee for everyone

Posted by Christine Vu, February 27, 2017
Ness 1

Self-described as a “noodle lovin' pot stickin' son of a bun from Toronto,” Ness Lee’s sense of humour is just one of the reasons why we love her. The award-winning illustrator and artist maintains an energetic vibrancy with an edge of self-deprecation in person and it’s this unique combination that shines through her art which includes drawing, painting, ceramics and woodwork. Her work has shown at multiple galleries all over the city like No Foundation, Project Gallery, and not to mention our own walls as a part of the Angel Dust exhibit at the hotel over the past summer. And if you happen to come across someone who's #pingamestrong, you're likely to spot her work as well. Ness also turns her illustrations into pins, totes and prints.

Ness 3

Ness' studio is on the east side and it doubles as her home. It's decorated with her own art and art she's collected over the years. It's like a little museum, full of curiosities in every corner. She shows me a book of her thesis when she was in OCAD. Some of the pieces hang on her living room wall. She says her style has changed over the years but seeing her personal narrative carry on throughout, it's still distinctly Ness.

"I don't know how it came to be this way but it's more expressive," she says of her current style. "I try to do something with as little lines as I can and in one swooping motion. So a lot of them are like..." She makes a motion with her hand and draws a figure in the air.

Ness 7

Everything starts as a sketch before it becomes a pin but her ceramics are purely instinctual and more impulsive. She starts with working the clay in her hands until it forms and she's learned that the best way is to go with the flow.

"Sometimes I would have an idea and it doesn't match the result so I just let the hands work!"

Every inch of space in her studio has a functional purpose. Whether it holds art supplies, her own art collection, works-in-progress or items waiting to be shipped to its new home, it's well organized into mini compartments. Her markers, clay, handmade paper and Cintiq drawing tablet are just a few of her studio essentials.

"It's like my heaven," Ness says, looking around and taking a moment to take in the wonder herself.

Ness Dev cap

Gettin' creative w/ a little help from her friends @ Drake Devonshire

Ness Lee is a part of our current exhibit, Qualia, curated by Devan Patel of Art Works Consulting and is one of this year's artists-in-residence at Drake Devonshire. Qualia is up until April 17, 2017.

Posted in: Art

Tags: art  drake devonshire  ness lee  qualia