Carolyn Ellis | Artist
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Bio + Artist Statement

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Carolyn Ellis

I am an American abstract figurative artist.

My two loves — art and storytelling — have served as my constant compass along my winding professional and personal path.

An explorer at heart, I rarely say no to experience.

This openness has guided me from architecture school in Los Angeles, to set design in New York City, to building a thriving national women’s accessories line based in San Francisco. It has propelled me from global sojourns in Africa, Asia, Europe and India, to the expansive stillness of Northern New Mexico.

Immersed in a kaleidoscope of activities, for years I drank from the fire hose of experience, with little time spent heeding the repeating call from the depths of my life. And then, the depths pulled me in. I broke open. I met myself anew.

I pray to never be unbroken again.

To find home in a world changed, I returned to my first language — visual expression of somatic experience. (I have always seen pictures before I hear words, and before pictures comes sensation.)

Through mark making and collage, I explore the emotional and psychological landscape of the human condition.

I make art in my sun-dappled backyard studio, under an enormous matriarchal magnolia, in Napa, California.




I believe in the exquisite power of vulnerability.

I believe our willingness to choose the path of exposure will lead us home. I believe the experiences we stumble to name are what we must speak of the most.

I am an abstract figurative artist. My work is an intimate conversation of tender and true questions — what do I long for, what do I fear, what do I label with shame, what cracks me open...what do I love?

Mark making offers a pathway back home to my essential, forgotten self.

Bones drawn via blind-contour, dreams collaged, abstracts of oil pastels rubbed to a waxy glow, watercolor washes over crisp graphite lines — all are my gateways into the language of symbol and archetype.

My work is an invocation, an initiation, an invitation.  

Each piece is incomplete until it enters into conversations with you. There are stories only revealed by your perspectives. And this, this, is why I do what I hear my story more clearly through your experience, to offer mine so you may hear yours. This is no easy conversation — it is challenging and beautiful.

Join me?