To Top

Art & Life with Chris Ellis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Ellis.

Chris, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My first memories of making something was in the 2nd or 3rd grade when my parents remodeled an area in our house, and I was allowed to use all of the leftover scraps. I built, in my mind, a large biplane and flew it all around our yard. Now, after looking at an old picture of me playing on it, I realize that it was just three 2×4’s with a ton of nails hammered into it. In retrospect, I remember making it more then I remember playing with it. Even though I was very young, I still remember the anticipation and excitement of what the potential outcome would be – this feeling really resonated with me.

Throughout high school, I was very much into ceramics, and after high school, I got a job as a production potter. I then started my own handmade tile business and had a lot of fun developing all the tiles, glazes and production processes, and the business did very well. But after all the hard work was done, I got tired of it quickly. It was too repetitive for me, and the creative part was finished. I knew that it was time for me to find a job where I had to create something new all the time. I had to have a constant challenge – so I decided to go back to school and study fine art.
I ended up attending Otis College for undergrad and Art Center for graduate school. During this time in school – I worked for other artists, helping them find solutions in order to fabricate their work. This experience put me in a position to see diverse ways of how objects can be made.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My work is about taking a covert action and giving it a visible material form. I’m currently working on large collage series called sculptural portraits, that are based on trying to capture, in a physical form, the process of the formation of “ideas.” How that would be interpreted in a dimensional form. Some of these colleges then end up becoming actual sculptures.

I always start my projects with a complicated question about something inconsequential. I tend to remake my pieces over a lot, and each time they morph from the original idea. I do think my process is a lot like the kid’s game telephone, in that my initial starting (idea) point is nowhere near what the outcome is. I love the thought of how misinterpretation of someone’s work or philosophies can lead to some wonderful ideas. I like to embrace my art practice as not knowing what I’m doing, in the sense of its final outcome, and enjoy the process of starting over from the beginning, time and time again. I like to work on five or more pieces at a time and jump back and forth from them. This process leads to forgetting what each individual piece was about and letting the forms lead the way. I suffer from trying to control things too much, and this allows me to lose a certain amount of control in the process.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?

Work with what you got. Money is always going to be an issue, even for those with a lot of it. There is always a way around this, I’ve seen it work out time and time again when I’ve worked for other artists who have these big grand ideas but no money. Simply ask yourself what’s the next best thing, undoubtedly this will always lead to something more interesting. For me creating artwork is just like a long road trip with many forks in the road, and each turn takes you somewhere new. In the end, it’s nothing that you expected, but it still holds your principle ideas.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I post pieces that aren’t at a gallery here until they leave for a show.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Chris Ellis

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in