Photo: Heiko Ryll

Lee Nielsen is an artist and illustrator based in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2008 he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Alberta University of the Arts. He has exhibited locally and nationally and has work in private collections in Canada and the United States. In 2011 He was awarded an Individual Artists Project grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. He is currently represented by the Christine Klassen Gallery in Calgary, Alberta.
As an illustrator, he has worked in the fields of animation, video games and comic books, along with various editorial and design projects. In 2015 he was commissioned by Smithsonian Books to illustrate 3 volumes of the children’s series “Secret Smithsonian Adventures”. He recently designed and illustrated backgrounds on the soon to be released animated feature film “Valley of the Lanterns”, produced by New Machine Studios, and directed by Caleb Hystad. From 2011 to 2019, he lead the development of curriculum and taught in the Illustration program at the Edmonton Digital Arts College

Selected clients:
Smithsonian Books, Vine Arts Wine and Spirits, Avenue Magazine, Beamdog, New Machine Studios, ATB Financial, Downstage Theatre
BFA Degree with distinction, Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary, Alberta. 2008
Certificate, Classical Animation, The Applied Multimedia Training Centre, Calgary, Alberta. 2000
Selected Professional Experience
CG Designer, Atomic Cartoons, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2020
Art Director/Illustrator, New Machine Studios, Calgary/Edmonton, Alberta. 2019-2020
Illustrator/Background Designer, New Machine Studios, Calgary/Edmonton, Alberta. 2016-2017
Owner/Operator/Illustrator, Humanate Enterprises, Calgary/Edmonton, Alberta. 2004-present
Instructor, Digital Illustration and Sequential Art Dept. Edmonton Digital Arts College, Edmonton, Alberta. 2011-present
Preparator, the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. 2011
Technician, On The Level Art Installations, Calgary, Alberta. 2008-2011
Story Board Artist, New Machine Studios, Calgary, Alberta. 2006-2007
Concept and Digital Production Artist, Orbital Media, Calgary, Alberta. 2000-2004
Selected Exhibitions
“Commanding Heights” Christine Klassen Gallery, Calgary, Alberta (solo), 2016
“Art and Design in the 21st Century” TREX Traveling Exhibition, organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, (curated by Shane Golby) (group), 2016-2018
“Modules, Modalities, Power” The Weiss Gallery, Calgary, Alberta (solo), 2012
“Signal to Noise” The Weiss Gallery, Calgary, Alberta (Solo), 2010
Notable Commissions/Projects
“Forward Thinking” Mural for the ATB Financial branch in Calgary, Alberta, Commissioned by Makespace Group, Edmonton, Alberta (art directors Clayton Lowe and Aja Louden), 2016
Smithsonian Institute, Commissioned to illustrate a series of graphic novels for the children’s series “Secret Smithsonian Adventures”, Washington, DC, 2015-2017
“Presto Lumo”, Interactive installation, BMO Children’s Gallery, Art Gallery of Alberta, collaborative project on behalf of Edmonton Digital Arts College (curated by Dara Armsden) Edmonton, Alberta. 2015
Commissioned to redesign interface for enhanced edition of the video game “Icewind Dale”, Beamdog, Edmonton, Alberta. 2014
Commissioned to create a series of Matte Paintings used in cinematic sequences for enhanced edition of video game “Baldur’s Gate”, Beamdog, Edmonton, Alberta. 2012
Selected Publications
Smithsonian Books. It’s Treason, by George!. Vol. 1. Washington DC: Smithsonian Books, 2017. 3 vols. Secret Smithsonian Adventures. Ser. 1. Print.
Smithsonian Books. Claws and Effect. Vol. 1. Washington DC: Smithsonian Books, 2016. 3 vols. Secret Smithsonian Adventures. Ser. 1. Print.
Smithsonian Books. The Wrong Wrights. Vol. 1. Washington DC: Smithsonian Books, 2016. 3 vols. Secret Smithsonian Adventures. Ser. 1. Print.
Haller, Cory. “A Historic Opportunity.” Avenue Edmonton 1 Jan. 2016: 19- 20. Print.
Hightone Publishing Ltd. “Operating Procedure series.” Vol. 1. Magic Paintbrush by Illustration. Hightone Publishing Ltd. Shenzhen: Hightone, 2015. 1 vols. 133. Print.
Heavy Metal. Saskatchewan. Vol. 270. Heavy Metal. Easthampton: Kevin Eastman, 2014. 99-103. Print.
Interviews and Appearances
Nielsen, Lee. “Setting the Terms of Your Career.” Visual Arts Alberta/CARFAC. Edmonton. 18 May 2016. Web. 20 June 2016. (lecture)
McKarney, Sara. 1 Feb. 2016. , Accessed 16 Jan. 2018.
“Edmonton illustrator inks his way to the Smithsonian.” Edmonton AM. CBC Radio. Edmonton, 12 Jan. 2016. Web. 20 June 2016.< inks-his-way-to-the-smithsonian-1.3400454>.
“Generation Photoshop.” Alberta Prime Time. CTV. Edmonton, 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.<>.
 Selected Awards and Scholarships
Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Individual Artists Project Grant. 2011
Board of Governors Award, Alberta College of Art and Design. 2008

All work © LeeNielsen. Unless otherwise noted.