Neil was born in Charlotte, Michigan to Eve Whitaker and Kern Howe. He lived with his brother on a farm until he was 3. His parents divorced and he moved with his brother and father to Haslett, Michigan where he had a wonderful childhood playing basketball and doing projects in the garage. He lived on the edge of Lake Lansing and swam in the summer, skated in the winters. He spent summers with his mother and stepfather at a Biological Station affiliated with MSU, swimming, riding bikes and causing mischief. At the age of 13, he moved with his brother, mother and stepfather, Mathew Leibold to Hyde Park, Chicago where he attended middle school and high school. This is where he really got into art. Though he had a grandfather who was a professor at MSU in ceramics and a mother with a graduate degree from U of Indiana in printmaking, it was in high school that he really began his interest in making it. After attending the U of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Hyde Park he went on to study English and Fine Art at the University of Iowa. After a breakdown in his third year, he returned to Chicago and began taking classes at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned a BFA in 2003. He then moved to Dripping Springs, outside Austin, TX where he lived near his mother and stepfather making music, art and writing. In 2013 he returned to Chicago where he lives with his girlfriend Angela Lizak.