Clay Ellis RCA : Press

"Edmonton Artist Clay Ellis Showcases a Range of Techniques in 'Amuse-Bouches & Mintz' "
Source: VUE Weekly
Published: 11/28/2018
Author: Chelsea Novak

Every seasoned artist goes on a journey—be it literal or figurative—to develop their own unique style. The road that led Edmonton artist Clay Ellis to his new exhibition, Amuse-Bouches & Mintz, started in his hometown of Medicine Hat. When he was young, he worked at Plainsman Clay, where he had access to all the clay he wanted, and started to build ceramic sculptures. Eventually he started incorporating concrete, then steel, and acrylic paint and polyurethane. 

 

Ellis explains that it was his job at Plainsman Clay that led him to the Banff School of Fine Arts, where he took an intense summer course in ceramics. It was that course that prompted him to continue with other arts courses and workshops.

While the sculptural pieces in Amuse-Bouches & Mintz fit on small podiums, Ellis typically works at a much larger scale (hence amuse-bouches, a French term for small appetizers that provide just a little taste of what the chef has to offer). He explains that it was his desire to work at a larger scale that led him to concrete and polyurethane.

“It went from sort of small scale ceramic sculptures to large scale ceramic sculptures, and with that … the complexity of working on large scale ceramic things got in the way of the speed at which I wanted to work, so I started making molds for the ceramic pieces, and then I started making molds of polyurethane, which meant that I could cast concrete into it,” he says.

He was also welding armatures for use in his ceramic sculptures or to make molds, and that’s how he got into working with steel.

“I ran into a group of people that were working in welded steel and that sort of took me for a 20-year journey, which was of interest,” he says. “But the closer I got to 40, the more it seemed that, that was going to be either taxing on my body or on everything else. So I started working on a series of polychromatic sculptures and that introduced me to a whole range of new materials.”

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