Full disclosure: this writer was unaware of the brutal nature of Endometriosis until studying Ellie Kammer’s confronting yet beautiful paintings of individuals with the disease. In our latest spotlight, Ellie tells us about her five year plan, and her favourite German gallery.
Q: Hello Ellie! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I’m a 25 year old woman with a body that can’t safely contain the enormous volume of feelings and emotions I have. I’ve always been hyper sensitive and I started making images when I was about 8 years old to free myself from ideas, thoughts and feelings that fester inside me.
Endometriosis (Shadowed), oil on canvas, 120 cm x 90 cm, 2016.
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: I’m inspired by people who devote their entire beings to achieving their dreams. The ones that know what it takes to get there and aren’t afraid to do the hard work. My art is always inspired by a personal battle, and from there I consider how I can extend that idea and make a statement that will resonate with many people.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: Oil paint is the love of my life. I’ve experimented with a few mediums but when I used oil for the first time I instantly felt it was the best partner for me.
Endometriosis (Coagulate), oil on Belgian linen, 200 cm x 150 cm, 2016.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I like to call it ‘figurative expressionism’ because I can’t think of better words to describe what I do. I always work with a figure – portraiture has always been what I’ve wanted to do, but I manipulate the image according to what my viscera dictates and the portraits aren’t usually an exact representation of the sitter. The figure is there to keep it real and relatable, but what is more important to me is the message within the work.
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: I take instances from my life and interpret them in my work, so coming up with a theme is something I hardly have to think about. The idea usually strikes me before I go looking for it. At the moment I’m focussing on my battle with a disease called Endometriosis. As I’m now working with a consistent theme in my work, the difficult part of developing a strong theme or idea is over. In order to create an image I can feel proud of, I do a lot of research before composing the picture including reading books, researching artists, researching the disease, contacting other women with the disease, and sketching a number of options. When I land on an idea, I photograph a model for reference, do a minimal outline sketch on canvas and start letting it all flow.
Ellie working on Endometriosis (Coagulate)
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: In five years I hope that I would’ve participated in an artist residency within a medical facility, become an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia to expand my audience for Endometriosis awareness, have shown a solo exhibition at a reputable gallery and be well on the way to forging a successful career as a painter.
Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?
A: There’s a million I would readily recommend, but recently Alex Kanevsky has me completely entranced.
Separation, charcoal on toned paper, 32 cm x 25 cm, 2015.
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: I had the most memorable experience at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany. It was there I first saw works by Yves Klein in the flesh which had quite an impact on my view and understanding of art beyond my own style. There was also an intriguing interactive exhibition on at the time that I’ll never forget because of it’s outright weirdness.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
A: You can view my works on my website, Instagram and Facebook page for now. I’m currently studying a short course in business management which is nearing it’s completion and then I’ll be focussing a hundred per cent of my time on creating a series of related works, so stay tuned!
Q: If you could include any law or legislation into government, what would it be?
A: This is a tricky one because there are so many injustices. I’m a notorious ranter when it comes to human rights, so I’ll keep it simple and choose one of the most unexpected laws I read about in an article recently. Nottinghamshire police introduced new rules that categorise acts of uninvited sexual advances and street harassment towards women, including catcalling and wolf-whistling a punishable hate crime. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if it were a universal rule and women could feel more comfortable walking down the street? I think it’s insane that we still have to deal with harassment on a daily basis as a result of our gender.
– Masya Zabidi