John Ellis

Over the course of the last ten years I have searched for what the making of my art means to me. To reach a conclusion seems to be just ahead of or slightly beyond my understanding. It is very much a journey unto itself, requiring one to evolve and question one's thinking on a regular basis. This is primarily due to the evolution and development of skills and of ideas. The following paragraphs consist of what I know about myself and my work at this point in my career.
My work is a blending of my interest coupled with my skill as a craftsman. My interest in art stems from a variety of different styles and periods. My work is influenced by an interest in four specific areas. I love the simplicity of Shaker furniture as well as the lines and grids found in their designs. I am also influenced by Japanese architecture and furniture design. These simple factors are coupled with a high degree of interest in abstract expressionism seasoned with a dash of minimalism. 
As a sculptor I can find no way to separate art from labor. Visions, concepts, and ideas are only realized through labor and the desire to complete them. It strikes me as odd that art is held in esteem and labor is given a separate weight, for without labor, art cannot exist.
 My objective in the making of my work is to create something which contains the things I seek in my own life:  
simplicity, balance, and beauty.


My life's journey began in a small town in southeast Missouri in 1956. I come from a long line of talented people who in one way or another were always making something. My great-grandfather was a successful businessman and one of the finest builders of practical things I have ever encountered. There are numerous ladders, tables, and various other items still in service in my father's machine shop today. I believe watching him as a youngster nourished my interest in making things.

 Education and learning can take place in any number of ways. The most effective way for me has been through self-study and by working with mentors. As I have grown older my interest and my curiosity have grown in many different directions.

 Throughout my life my family, close friends and my various mentors have all encouraged me to drink deeply from the stream of life. Friendships and personal connections on a deep level are the sustenance of life for me. I am extremely fortunate to be married to my best friend who has helped me find my way to this point in my life. Her love and friendship as well as her understanding of psychology have been the ground from which my work has sprung.