Ted Ellis is a passionate artist. He is passionate about his family, passionate about his heritage, and passionate about his art. Just ask him and he proudly declares, “For more than 30 years I have painted subjects that are representative of the many facets of American life as I know it. I like to think of myself as a creative historian. I was put here to record history and all aspects of American culture and heritage. My sole purpose has always been to educate through my art. “Ellis grew up and was educated in New Orleans, a degreed Chemist, and graduate of Dillard University he has always been inspired by a city known for its history, style, and artistic exuberance. This backdrop inspired Ellis to capture the essence of the subjects of his childhood in the glory of their rich cultural heritage.
After more than 20 years of being out of school, T. Ellis is now in his second year of pursuing a Masters degree in Museum Studies at Southern University in New Orleans (SUNO), and will eventually pursue a doctoral in that field of study. Recently, Mr. Ellis, the only visual artist along with 14 other individuals of distinguish merit were appointed to a National Commission by the Department of Interior, National Park Services, and Smithsonian to assist in planning and organizing the 400th commemoration of 1619 throughout the United States. This Federal appointment recognizes the importance of his advocacy and activism, and cements Ellis as an artist of historical and cultural significance.
Extremely dedicated to his craft, the artist draws on a style that was born in his childhood from impressions of his native city. Ellis is self-taught and boldly blends realism and impressionism in his work, evoking nostalgia and inspiration. The art of this man both reveres and celebrates the traditional values of his culture. Ted Ellis, the man, lives the life he paints about. He generously contributes time and artwork to various causes; United Way, ICLS, African American Visual Arts Association, Jack and Jill, Inc., the Tom Joyner Foundation, United Negro College Fund, the Links, Inc., and school systems around the country. Ellis’ involvement in the community as an art advocate and educator has earned him recognition from numerous organizations and city officials. Ellis’ latest exhibit entitled, “Our History, Heritage and Culture, an American Story”, encompasses the diversity and cultural similarities of all Americans. The debut of this exhibit started at the Rosa Parks Museum and will continue to travel across the country. Some of Ellis’ previous exhibits include, “American Slavery: The Reason Why We are Here”, ‘‘Say My Name’, and “Courage of Conviction, African-Americans who Serve in the Military from Colonial Times until Now”, and “Born in the Spirit.” For over 25 years Mr. Ellis has continued to pictorially document the history and culture of African Americans that matches the artistic contributions of Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Dr.Margaret Burroughs and other significant artist that has preceded him.
Ellis, who currently resides in Houston, Texas, has been recognized as an artist of historical importance. Several of his paintings are in the permanent collection of the DuSable Museum, McKenna Museum, The Free People of Color Museum and the Amistad Research Center. His trailblazing efforts will surely get him recognized as one of the most celebrated artists of the 21st century. In the last 20 years, many corporations and Private Ellis’ private collectors continue to admire and collect his work. A few of the prominent individuals who enjoy his creations are as follows; the late Johnny Cochran, Angela Bassett, Ed Gordon, Blair Underwood, Susan L. Taylor, Bryant Gumbel, Joyce Roche, Spike Lee, and Brad Pitt. Several major corporations have commissioned Ellis; a few of which include: Walt Disney Studios, the Minute Maid Company, Coca-Cola, Phillip Morris, and Avon, Inc. He has also been featured on local and regional television programs, in magazines such as Upscale and Southern Living, Newsweek, and is frequently featured in newspaper articles throughout the country. His popular art images have been found on book covers and collectible prints. Mix a man with conviction and something happens. In the case of Ted T. Ellis, a man of passion and purpose with the gift of knowledge, and that is something special. That, alone with his art is priceless.