Production Designer – Biography
A Fine Art graduate of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Jonathan Lee specialised in the Painting School under Alberto Morrocco. His work was shown in the Royal Scottish Academy and in numerous private collections. Jonathan’s work always evinced a love of light on landscape, and not unaturally led to an interest in stage design and to working on a number of productions with Tayside and Scottish Operas including NABUCCO and LA TRAVIATA.
An enduring love of film motivated Jonathan’s move to London in 1986 where he began working in Film Art Departments on projects such as BEING HUMAN, RIFF RAFF, RESTORATION, THE SAINT, TOMORROW NEVER DIES and STAR WARS EP2. He began working as a Supervising Art Director in 1997 on ELIZABETH (which garnered a prestigious Art Director’s Guild nomination), ALI and XXX. Experience with drawn and painted images was pivotal in helping conceive set designs as well an ability to render these designs in a technical, drafted form. Jonathan’s best work reflects the idea of bringing paintings to life.
Jonathan has been working as a Production Designer since 2006 on films such as HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, (he was nominated for a Genie Production Design award and won the Milan Film Festival Production Design award), STEALTH and FLOOD, He has also designed TV dramas including COLDITZ, CRUSOE, STRIKEBACK: PROJECT DAWN and STRIKEBACK: VENGEANCE. This work covers a wide range of genres and each project brought very new artistic and technical challenges.
The increasing use of VFX in film-making is something Jonathan relishes and he is keen to develop digital design within the Art Department. THE GARDEN for Tiger Aspect was a seminal project where a joint Art and VFX Department was created which allowed a seamless design process from early concepts through to post-production.
As film-making has become increasingly international with the development of studios and crews in numerous countries, Jonathan has enjoyed being at the forefront of working in South Africa, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Canada and Australia.
The core belief that dominates Jonathan’s work is that the conceived image comes first and that any and all technologies, old and new, are the tools to help the designer deliver memorable cinematic worlds.