An Evening with Artist Amy Ellingson
Amy Ellingson has been a friend and colleague of stARTup Director Ray Beldner for many years. Amy has also been on stARTup’s Advisory Board and has been a juror as well, so her connection and support of the fair has been meaningful and deep.
Amy recently relocated from San Francisco to Santa Fe, New Mexico to take up residence with her partner and their dog Burt on a beautiful five acre spread just outside of the city limits. Having just completed the building of a spacious new studio on her property, Ray recently visited for an enchanting dinner and a tour of her new creative space.
Wine in hand, Amy gave me a tour of the her adobe house and detached “casita” which is their guest quarters. We walked through the trellised patios and past the waning fall garden from which she sourced the lettuce and tomatoes for our dinner salad. We continued on to her gorgeous studio which she proudly walked me through. It’s an artist’s dream—spacious and beautiful—with tall ceilings, one wall of North facing windows, bright, color-balanced LED lighting, heated concrete floors, an office and rack room in the rear. As an artist, I was drooling…..
Scattered among the work tables, free-standing lights and print drawers, there was painting and drawings in various stages of completion. Her work is labor intensive and generally large scale, even monumental. The abstract forms in her paintings are computer generated from a limited palette of simple shapes, then translated to wood panels using traditional oil and encaustic media. They are complex and layered, colorful and playful and she has managed to seamlessly incorporate digital processes into her painting practice.
Amy received her B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College and an M.F.A. from CalArts and since then, her work has been exhibited all over the world. Her work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Crocker Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, among many others.
One of my favorite pieces is a public commission, Untitled (Large Variation) in Terminal 3 at the San Francisco Airport. It’s an amazing 1100 square foot ceramic mosaic mural that so perfectly captures in tile, the colorful and complex surfaces of her smaller paintings. It’s right as you exit the terminal so it’s seen by thousands of people everyday. Each time I have passed by it, I’ve taken a selfie with the intent to send it to Amy just to say, “Hey, how cool is this?”
So far, I’ve resisted that urge, until now….
That night, Amy showed me a recently completed a collaboration/project of two 12 color lithographs she did with Bud Shark at Shark’s Ink. Those works are set to debut at the IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair, NYC, October 23-27, 2019.
She also received a public commission to create another art mosaic for the College of Osteopathic Medicine Building, Sam Houston State University which will be finished in 2020.
San Francisco’s loss is Santa Fe’s gain. If you want to see more of Amy’s work, I encourage you to visit her website.