Artist Ellie Contreras
Ellie Contreras is a British artist who creates imaginative narrative figurative art stylistically inspired by modernist artists from the early 20th century but with a contemporary edge.
After gaining a distinction in her advanced GNVQ in Art & Design at Richmond College in 1998 she went on to take BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration at De Montfort University. She worked for the next 20 years as a Free-lance graphic designer and illustrator while also developing her painting and printmaking skills, focusing mainly on portrait painting and printmaking in this period. In 2018 she decided to dedicate herself primarily to her artistic career and now works as a professional artist. Ellie’s 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.
My current body of work takes inspiration from ancient folk lore, mythology and literature. As an incurable day dreamer, I have always been naturally drawn to stories, they have always been used as a way to understand human behavior and the world around us. Inspired by the essay “The Laugh of the Medusa” by Hélène Cixous where where she encourages us to examine our literary heritage from a female perspective rather than the traditional patriarcal framework, my aim is to re-interpret these stories from my own female experience.
As well as painting Ellie has for many years made linocuts, these offer another avenue of exploration which compliment her figurative storytelling.
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
Iid 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