Niele began sculpture in wood and softer stone in 1970. He displayed his earlier work in numerous shows in the Vancouver area throughout the 1970's and early to mid 1980's. Niele concentrated on painting and graphics for a number of years, exhibiting as far afield as Seattle and New York, and having graphic work included in such publications as World's Greatest Erotic Art Volume 1. Humorous art and writing were favourably reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and met with amazing response on the internet where he attracted in excess of a million viewers that tuned in regularly to the Mr. Grant's Cat blog.
With the opening of the West Coast Wood Design Gallery in Sidney, BC, there was renewed interest in his sculptures thanks to owners Don & Denise Bastian. Niele began carving again in earnest in both wood and stone. He attended the West Coast Stone Carving Symposium in 2009 held in Lake Cowichan, and exhibited a small stone sculpture, "The Mask Bearer" in that years Sidney Fine Arts Show. He placed another wood carving, "The Cactus Compromise" in this years Sooke Fine Arts Show, and another wood carving " Transcend" in the Fine Arts Exhibit this fall in Sidney.
He continues to work on a number of projects ranging from writing and graphics including book illustrations, to painting, clay work, and sculpture.
Niele (Robert, John) Freeborn, Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1951. Son of a painter, carver and clay artist Dona Freeborn, grandson of renowned leather carver Donald MacKinnon. Married to Lenda Freeborn, two children, one son and one daughter, two grandchildren, one boy, one girl.