ARTIST AT A GLANCE
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Esmond Lee 李春錦 is an artist, photographer, and architect based in the suburbs of Toronto. As a second-generation Chinese-Canadian, Lee explores the long-term and intergenerational experiences of migration. Lee holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from Carleton University and draws from this background to examine identity, belonging, and nuanced cultural evolution in our built-environment. He is proud to create socially engaged and hyperlocal work that strengthens his community. Lee was recently invited by the Ontario Heritage Trust as a Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence at Fool’s Paradise. His recent projects include participation in the Rendezvous with Madness exhibition and a 250-foot long Nuit Blanche. Lee’s work has been included in The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) permanent collection.
Drawing from his background in architecture, Lee photographs intriguing moments, spaces, and buildings, combining them to explore new fantastical worlds. These photographs act as vibrant digital paint for him to layer, merge, and blend with his digital brush. Part architectural design and part art-making, this process of using photographs with inherent cultural and social contexts allow Lee to imagine new, exciting places free of political borders and physical limitations. He is inspired by traditional Chinese horizontal scrolls that depict everyday life through axonometric illustrations that cut through large lands, from city centres to rural towns. Similarly, he works with long scroll-like formats to construct his images, paying special attention to not only content but also scale and perspective.