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Loren Ellis

Published April 18, 2019

Q & A

What have you been doing since graduating from FSU?

It’s been a long time since 1977 when I graduated from Florida State. Since graduating I have continued to make art and write poetry. Upon graduation, the State Capital purchased one of my murals and I got a grant from the Fines Arts Council of Florida. Following graduation I went back to my home town of Tampa, FL to buy a house and build a darkroom within it to further my mural work. I got a job at USF as the “official ” Photographer of the University and started 4 varied courses in photography, continuing on to teach for a number of years. I became the photo editor of the Tampa Bay Magazine and free lanced as a photographer for a bit. After getting bored with the routine, I moved to Manhattan in 1985. I taught at Parsons School of Design, Columbia Preparatory School, FIT and more. I exhibited some of my art pieces and was awarded grants from the Tampa Arts Council for my multiple series in 1990. Then in May 2000, I founded Art for Healing NYC International Organization based in Hell’s Kitchen still to this day.

What did you learn at FSU to get you there?

Obtaining my education at Florida State University was magical for me and by far the best experience of my career. Free to develop as an individual and having access to proper facilities enhanced my creative growth. My thesis was a bit odd because I incorporated poetry throughout the paper to say more than I could describe. I remember the sink in the darkroom was huge and it was here that I stumbled upon making murals. I also had access to FAMU up the street for free as a graduate student, so I was encouraged by George Floresh, the director of the graphic school, to make a book. “Photographs and Thoughts” was purchased years later by MoMA and the NY Public Library in NYC.

What advice would you give to art students?

Follow your Dreams… As one gets older they begin to realize that life is short. Work hard, be true and critical of yourself. Listen to others but develop your own opinions. Go with your heart but be practical. In todays age it is important to know art graphics on computers, even just for your own use. I wrote my thesis on a typewriter! I think a business marketing class is extremely helpful and important, even though it isn’t a requirement. If you have interest in teaching, find art centers, community centers, colleges etc to teach at and gain experience. I still love teaching but now I only teach via my charity Art for Healing.