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David Craig Ellis

Aug 20, 2020

By Melissa Rodwell

David Craig Ellis is an artist who can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Interview by Elizabeth Hazard

David Craig Ellis is a man of many talents with an eclectic style to his artwork. Like many other artists during this time of quarantine, he is learning to improvise with art supplies and canvases. These days he’s making due with pizza boxes and other ordinary household items in lieu of fancy palettes and paints. The artist and author (his third installment of his popular series Doing Lines with David Craig Ellis is out now) has designed everything from album covers, clothing designs, company logos and beyond. Ellis has the gift of turning a simple napkin or piece of paper into a creative visual. 

How would you describe your artwork? 

I would describe my work as a glimpse inside my mind at any given random moment of time. I don’t plan out paintings. I’m in the moment, whatever happens, happens. Stream of consciousness, inspired by anything around me or random memories that suddenly appear inspire my work. 

What is your most favorite medium to create on? 

My favorite medium is ink on paper. It’s an immediate, satisfying medium. I can start and complete a sketch or cartoon before finishing my morning coffee. It’s very satisfying to totally complete something even before starting my day

Who and what inspires you most as an artist?

Everything¬†around me at any given time can be turned into a comical sketch or a cute painting. My top three inspirations¬†from the past are Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Basquiat. Current, living inspirations are Rick Prol, Ron English and Paul Kostabi. I’m inspired by those who live and breathe art all day, every day.¬†

This pandemic has impacted artists in many ways. I learned that you found interesting ways to make due with supplies around you to continue creating your art. 

Yes, I create on boxes now! I’ve always been an avid recycler. Years ago I found 50 folded cardboard boxes on the loading dock of my building. I carried them down to my studio and set out to make one painting every 30 minutes. Since they’re essentially throwaways, I found myself extremely loose and forgiving – and the results were, I think, much more engaging with mistakes and flubs becoming a charming part of the work. I realized that I paint best on cardboard, and they look great in a frame. So when I ran out of canvasses during the pandemic and art supply stores were now closed, I began using cardboard boxes again as my main canvas. The result is a new body of work that I’m very happy with. These are some of my favorite works. There’s something about my style sitting on top of the color and texture of cardboard that just works.

What do you hope to see as an artist after this pandemic has lifted? 

As an artist, after this pandemic has lifted I hope to see the fear subside. Fear is driving us right now and it’s a killer. I used to complain about all sorts of minuscule troubles I had with traffic, lack of sleep or how my coffee wasn’t prepared correctly, etc. I now want all of that back and will be accepting without a complaint, I promise! 


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