David Neel is a professional photographer, artist and writer. He works in a number of media, including wood sculpture, photography, printmaking, glass, precious metals, and painting. He has received formal training at the University of Kansas and at Mount Royal College, Alberta.
His family influences include his father, David Neel Sr., his uncle, Mungo Martin, his grandmother, Ellen Neel, and his grandfather Charlie James. He uses the work of his ancestors as the starting point for his own artistic impression.
Neel developed a career as a professional photographer in Texas before returning to Canada in the early 1990s, overseeing two important projects: documenting works and representations of First Nations elders, and the other advocating for the revival of the Northwest Coast great dugout canoe.
David Neel works within the “tradition” of Kwakwaka'wakw art, in addition to contemporary works, which deal with current history. Neel’s photography appears in magazines and posters, as well as in museums and galleries internationally. He has had solo exhibitions at the Smithsonian, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. Neel has also authored two books on native culture and is planning on a third.