• Hayley Ellis

    South Africa

    Hayley Ellis
    • Artist Statement
      • I’ve been exploring the possibilities of calling upon our subconscious to relieve both the physical and emotional drought that has been brought upon us through global consumerism, ecological disaster and the alienation of the individual from a collective community and consciousness. Delving into an examination of ancient collective shamanism and prehistoric rock-painting, in particular that of the San of southern Africa, I want to explore the questions of communication and collectivism that have separated today’s human beings from their ‘magic’.
        I hope to learn how we define and manage the opposing experiences of drought and flood, fertility and infertility, wealth and poverty – and gain a new perspective on the modern dichotomy of the search for the self and our tribe or people, and how we can rediscover the potency of our symbols and marks.
    • Biography

      • Hayley Ellis is a South African painter and ceramicist from the Western Cape. She was trained in Drama, Dance and Movement, and studied Art Education at Stellenbosch University in the 1980s.
        In the early‘90s she travelled to the UK and lived in London, teaching for thirteen years. Her first works were shown in a group exhibition at the Westbourne Gallery in London in 1995, an event covered by ITV’s The Southbank Show. She returned to South Africa in 2008 and dedicated herself full-time to painting and collage, creating dreamlike mindscapes with  mythological subjects, before branching out into the realm of abstract expressionism and mixed media.
        Her early works were exhibited from 2011, at the D-Street Gallery in Stellenbosch, Belville’s Art B, digital group exhibition SEE/ME in New York’s Times Square in 2014 – but the Artemis Series was the first work to emerge from The Outsider Studio, which she established in 2016. Two more solo exhibitions followed: 2016 Artemis Series: abstract oils, ceramic vessels and sculpture at Orms Cape Town School of Photography and  in 2017 Artemis in Guise: expressionist portraits and studies, ceramic vessels and sculpture, Trek Rd, Cape Town.

        In 2018 Hayley was accepted to the Berlin Art Institute for intensive studio practice, discourse and experimentation.

        Selected Exhibitions:

        Group exhibition at Imibala Gallery, Somerset West

        Solo exhibition: Artemis in Guise

        Solo exhibition: Artemis Series at Orms Cape Town.

    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        Eco-awareness is a growing trend and rightly so. The politicization of water resources and  management both globally and internationally are issues that artist activists are exploring. Another theme that is very pertinent and poignant on the world stage is that of Human displacement.

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        At the moment Walter Batiss - the Bushmen painter

        If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
        Cy Twombly, Bacchus

        How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
        I loved art as a young adult but it was only when I got to University and embarked on a degree in Art education that my passion really developed.  I fell in love with Fine Art but also movement and drama.

        What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
        I’m concerned with drought, primarily the emotional and physical manifestation through aging, infertility, lack of community and collectivity.  I explore themes of alienation, shamanism, myth

        What inspired your latest body of work?
        Rock painting has always fascinated me. The shaman and the collective “magic” of the ritual. Summoning the rain has its roots in this exploration of the community and animals that brought rain.

        Tell us more about your creative process.
        I need to think before anything else.  Think, read and think again.  Perhaps draw, sketch or paint and then think again.  Then, suddenly I will know that I can start on the work.  It begins with marks, lines and movement.  I’m a very physical painter, becoming consumed by the process itself.  I layer and layer until I have clarity.  Then I have to look for the heart.  Once I have the heart, I can start removing that which is superfluous- or not

        What drives you as an artist?
        Passion, energy and need

        Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
        Each piece has a life and energy of its own.  I don’t have a favourite as each one is part of me and the process I go through to create.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        Being a full-time artist is an achievement in itself.  Each exhibition or project is an achievement. 

        What are your aspirations for the future?
        To realize an installation  project that I have in the pipeline using video and sculpture alongside my mixed medium works, to exhibit and collaborate with other artists here in Cape Town but also internationally.
  • summoning iv painting hayley ellis HAYLEY ELLIS
    Summoning IV
    Painting / 66 x 61 cm
  • summoning ii painting hayley ellis HAYLEY ELLIS
    Summoning II
    Painting / 65 x 70 cm
  • altered iii painting hayley ellis HAYLEY ELLIS
    Altered III
    Painting / 137 x 100 cm
  • altered iv painting hayley ellis HAYLEY ELLIS
    Altered IV
    Painting / 137 x 99 cm