Artist Ellie Contreras
I create figurative oil paintings inspired by literature and mythology. My goal is to re-interpret our cultural heritage from a female perspective. The Women in my paintings are not overtly sexualised or merely decorative, they are powerful and ‘take up space’ literally filling the canvas in uninhibited poses.
I think about the key message I wish to communicate about my subjects, their circumstances, motivation or personality and depict this through objects, symbolism and sometimes words. My work is stylistically inspired by modernist artists from the early 20th century but with a fresh contemporary twist.
After gaining a distinction in advanced GNVQ in Art & Design at Richmond College in 1998 I went on to take BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration at De Montfort University. I then worked for the next 20 years as a Free-lance graphic designer. During this time I continued to develop my painting skills focusing on portraiture and painting the occasional portrait commission. In 2018 I decided to dedicate myself primarily to my artistic career and started to exhibit in exhibitions and art fairs. My paintings have evolved over the past few years from an expressive realist approach to a style that allows for more creativity and freedom of expression. I knew that in order to express myself fully my whole outlook had to change. It was from studying modernist artists such as Gauguin, Picasso, Chagall, Frida Kahlo and Modigliani that I learnt to interpret the world through my own unique perspective, relying less on realism and more on my instincts and imagination. Gradually I evolved my own style of painting which demonstrates these influences combined with my interest in ancient mosaics and tapestries and influences from contemporary figurative artists who I have come to love such as Eileen Cooper and Melissa Kime.
Advanced GNVQ Art and Design – distinction
Richmond Upon Thames College 1997 – 1999
BA (hons) Graphic Design and Illustration – 2:1
De Montfort University 1999 – 2001
Intensive figurative painting workshop with James Bland
Art Academy London 2019
App Art Exhibition Godalming July 2021
Woking Smile Inside Project Exhibition September 2020
Denbies Wine Estate group exhibition 16th 27th March 2020
Contemporary Art Fairs Sandown Park Racecourse 13 – 15 Mar 2020
The Pavillion Guildford Cricket club – group exhibition March 2019
Guildford art society Autumn Exhibition at West Horsley Place – Saturday 2nd to Sunday 10 November 2019
New Artist Fair London – Old Truman Brewery, 13th to 15th of September 2019
Farnham art society spring pop up show Coxbridge Farm 26-27thMay 2019
Contemporary art fair Newbury – 10th May – 11th May 2019
Guildford House Gallery – group exhibition May 2018
Farnham Art society summer exhibition June 2018
Epsom & Ewell Contemporary art exhibition July 2018
Guildford House Gallery – group exhibition 13th October – 3rd November 2018
Oko:Art Autumn Exhibition 8th November – 18th November 2018