Inter-disciplinary artist Ellie Hannon grew up running about outside, playing at the beach and going camping. She explains ‘I loved making and building things out of the nature around me.’ While studying Fine Art at Newcastle University, Ellie realised that she was more interested in community than technique and art history, and spent five years after graduating travelling and working on art projects throughout Australia and South East Asia.
Now back in Newcastle, Ellie has set up a studio, and alongside painting, has started her own line of ceramics, whilst also engaging in community art programs. Her arts practice expands far beyond the physical making of art, to a way of working with others, and living by your values. The artist describes ‘it wasn’t until working with a whole group of creatives in Indonesia for a few years that I realized that being an artist is much more than just being creative, it’s about documenting and creating narratives that respond to culture and change, and I wanted to be a part of that.’
Ellie’s latest body of work Shelter emerged in response to completing a residency in Queenstown, on the west coast on Tasmania. The 25 paintings and installation artworks depict the experience of living in a town where the built environment is being ‘slowly overtaken by the wild.’ She explains the layered painted works explore ‘sheet cubbies, shanty houses, grass huts, camping tents and temples of ferns’ that offer temporary protection and make-shift shelters.
Interestingly, Ellie’s own studio in Newcastle is similarly overrun by local flora and fauna. A shed shared by 5 other artists, Elle explains the workspace is ‘so old… it’s a house for the local lizards and birds and the over-hanging vines creep into the studio.’
Ellie’s vibrant, intricately patterned works in Shelter capture a fluid, ever-evolving idea of ‘home’, reflecting her own ideas about art and community. She explains ‘my art practice begins in my garden out the front of my house, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.’
Shelter by Ellie Hannon
Until 30th July
1/288 Johnston Street