Ellie Brown is a native of Boston, MA where she attended Massachusetts College of Art. She received her B.F.A. in Media Arts in 1997 and her M.F.A. in Pictorial Arts from San Jose State University in 2002. Ellie has received numerous awards including: a 2008 Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a Leeway Foundation grant, first prize from the Fraser Gallery’s International photo competition, a featured artist from women in photography international, the Calumet Award from the Print Center’s 2006 and 2008 International Photography Competition. In addition, Ellie has attended artist in residencies in Iceland at the NES Artist Residency, at the Santa Fe Art Institute on a full fellowship, Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL with acclaimed photographer Graciela Iturbide and a residency in Costa Rica at the David and Julia White Artist Colony. Both her bookwork and photographs have been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally including Mexico, England, Switzerland, Romania, Greece, with a solo exhibition at the Galeria Nacional in Costa Rica. The Center for the Book Arts in NYC exhibited a solo show entitled A Chronicle of Lovers in 2009. From 2000- to the present, Ellie has taught as a part-time and full-time lecturer in photography, digital media and 2D at many Colleges and Universities. Ellie served as a Visiting Professor position of Digital Information at the University of Ulsan, South Korea in 2008. Ellie has been photographing girls’ issues since 1996 and making altered bookwork since 2002. She has curated and coordinated exhibitions such as Family Ties at UPenn and “Body, Soul and Hair” at Rowan University. The BAG project was funded through USA Projects, an initiative of United States Artists, with numerous solo exhibitions of the work in PA, IL, ID, MT and MI. She is the founder and president of POP!sicle Artist Marketing. She is the playwright and producer for Dear Diary, Bye. Which had its world premiere at Plays and Players Theater, Philadelphia in April 2014. In April 2016 RISCA and the Woonsocket Mayor funded Ellie’s public art Faces of Woonsocket, featuring 100 portraits of Woonsocket residents wheat pasted around the city. She is founder of POP!sicle Artist Marketing. She is currently a resident of Providence, RI.
2015: After years of ambiguous dementia, my father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 64.
The loss of a bright and active mind is a terrible thing. It’s scary and it’s heartbreaking. Memory is a trickster to begin with, and so these works honor memories with and of my father who still inhabits a physical body as a fragment of the person he once was.
These images are the second stage of two years of documenting my father photographically. These mixed media pieces reflect the metaphors, fears and emotions that photographs alone couldn’t capture. The transfer of photograph to gel medium represents on layer of removal from reality. The degradation of the image is another layer of loss. The addition of ink adds narrative based on free-association, conversations with my father, stories of Alzheimer’s disease and imaginary scenarios for my father to live in. The images provide me with alternate scenarios and realities that sometimes ease my aching heart, or put my aching heart onto paper.
My father is the most important person in my life, and I don’t want to miss a moment of his remaining lucidity. It’s devastating to talk to my father every week and to notice the slight changes as he is falling away, a piece at a time. His life is smaller and quieter, full of anxieties, depression and gaps. The loving and caring father I once knew is gone.
Though the slow, slow, quick, quick, slow decline of my father and its effect on my family is very personal, it’s also about everyone else who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Everyone’s story is different, but the one common thread is that this disease is like watching a car crash in slow motion. We all know how it ends.
I was thrilled to be able to meet and work with one of my photography idols, Graciela Iturbide, during my very first artist residency. The space, the sounds, the food and the people set the bar very high for my future residency experiences.