Five questions to Ellen Sherman

Five questions to Ellen Sherman

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Ellen Sherman was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1984. Ellen received her BFA in Studio Art from Michigan State University in 2008 and before that studied at Arizona State University. In 2017 after 10 years living in Miami Fl and time spent abroad, Ellen and her husband moved back to Ann Arbor where she currently lives. Ellen works out of a small studio and gallery space on the west side of town.How did you get into art?

I’ve always been an artist of sorts. Growing up I was always painting, drawing and making little sculptures out of things found in the woods. I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career and obtained a BFA in Studio Art from Michigan State University in 2008. I then worked a few odd art jobs (one as lead artist for a mobile game company, which was so much fun!) until I thought I would try my hand at being a full time artist.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

My style is always evolving as I evolve. But it’s always rooted in graphic, scribbly and seemingly random marks and pools. I like to juxtapose carefully planned moments with things that ‘just happen’ so the resulting piece is a bit of a group project between myself and the materials. I’m currently exploring multi-layered cut canvases which has been an eye-opening experience in terms of materiality, but it feels right to experiment further.How do you go about developing your work?

I begin with a finished painting I want to cut up, or, pieces made specifically to address the idea I’m working with. Once I have the individual elements I arrange them on the surface. This can either happen quickly, one piece informs the next and the work is finished. Or, several days/weeks of relayering and reorganizing until it reveals itself to be finished.Who or what influences you?

I am influenced by painters like Joan Mitchell and Grace Hartigan, by the changing of the seasons and the bursts of new color that spring from nature, by observing people and our interactions with each other. I am a little sponge and I take inspiration from everywhere.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

My next big project is going to be large. I usually do these assembled paintings on smaller surfaces due to the nature of the glue and the process - but next up will be a series of large works, completely covered in cut canvas and many layers deep. I am very excited and also very anxious for the assembling process. Which is exactly where I want to be with my work; excited and hopeful, while still nervous for the assembly. If I’m ever fully comfortable with what I’m making, I think it’s probably time to try something new.Learn more about the artist: