Ness Lee

Illustrator

How to draw your feelings

Ness Lee is an illustrator from Toronto who uses artwork as her diary. Identifying it as autobiographical, impulsively drawing her feelings out in the moment (she says under most of them is a written blurb explaining her diary entry - just for her). As an artist who uses her home as her studio and place of peace, Ness sure gets around. She’s racked up many illustrator awards and worked on countless murals for big events and brands like Netflix’s campaign for Orange Is the New Black. Ness continues to hone her craft with a wide variety of mediums like ceramics, drawing, painting and mixed media sculpture.


Mural for Poussey Washington

Maqtha Art festival in India

For @epiceriehao restaurant

Installation of woodcuts

World Oceans Week for @pangeaseed Foundation

The naked woman

Lee’s signature motif is a black-haired, naked woman. Although many compare the figures in her work to Japanese folk art or assume it’s her naked, there’s more to the story. Each one is an entry about Lee's life, her thoughts on intimacy, and an exploration of getting to know herself more. Growing up just outside of Toronto Ness had trouble connecting with the other kids in the neighborhood and learned to express her feelings through art, a place without interruptions or judgment. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design where she can trace her inspiration back to Shunga (basically Japanese art porn), admiring the smooth lines and the idea that a human can be drawn in a single stroke.


Title

Ness’s paintings are a common site in Toronto, plastered on buildings, streets, bridges, and even homes, adding a ton of character to the city. You can interpret her work however you’d like, but only Ness knows the true meaning behind each one. You’ll find Ness contributing to exhibits all over Toronto, or doing murals for events like Dudebox or Secret Walls. If you’re a fan and want some naked ladies, Ness sells custom goods like pins, tote bags, and handkerchiefs through her website. 


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