Lee Nowell-Wilson is a representational figurative artist, currently based in Baltimore, MD. She earned her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, and now works as a freelance painter and muralist.
Primarily using oil paint and graphite, as well as house paint for outdoor urban art pieces, her work explores themes of relationship, vulnerability and identity, as she herself navigates different processes of life involving motherhood and womanhood. Nowell-Wilson's realistic and technical style of working with the figure conceptually investigates and divulges aspects of humanness kept behind the neatly tied, well packaged, professionally presented self.
Through these highly detailed, large scale depictions of the figure, Nowell-Wilson reflects on the triumphs and failures of our shared human experience. Her work acts as an invitation to her audience to digest and discuss, together, how we move through life, how we relate to one another and the impact of revealing our inner dialogue instead of harboring it away.
"There's something that clicks at a certain point in each drawing or painting when I start to take it seriously. Like a quiet adolescent that speaks their first line of wisdom and you raise your eyebrows and tilt your head a little like 'ok. I see you.' And you realize for the first time that they are a real human, coming into form, and have been all along. But before that point in each piece of work, I always need to just scribble on the surface for a bit. Play around; make marks that don't make sense. When it clicks though, I go hard."
Professionally, Lee worked as a muralist and was the co-founder of Blue Lined Designs, a mural painting team based in Baltimore, MD, from 2012 - 2015. She has exhibited work in Baltimore, Italy, New York, and France, as well as completed urban art pieces in Norway, France, Northern Ireland and Chile. She participated in a year long residency in Annapolis, MD in 2012, and a 5 month urban arts residency in Lyon, France in 2015. From August 2015 - June 2016, her and her husband lived in Aalesund, Norway working with Youth With a Mission.