Friday, November 18, 2011

The Surprising Work of Theo Ellsworth

Since this blog is about the things I love, and things that interest and inspire me, I'm doing an entry about Theo Ellsworth's art.  I love it, and it interests and inspires me.  That's pretty much an understatement.  The second I saw all those black lines--sometimes swirling, sometimes staccato, always insanely mesmerizing--I was seriously intrigued.

Studying the actual images (one bizarre creature/face/circumstance after another) is more entertaining than any afternoon in an art museum.  I'm no art critic (and I mostly lump their vocab in with that weird wordiness of wine connoisseurs) so I'm not going to attempt to describe what I see in Theo Ellsworth's works.  You can look for yourself.  But look deep and long, because there's a huge reward waiting for your eyes and mind. And yeah, it'll be a treat for your spirit, too.

He makes comics, album covers, and illustrations for nursery rhymes; he publishes zines, makes remarkable wood cut-out art, and does shows. And I'm probably leaving a bunch out. All with works that are fresh water for thirsty eyes.

 What inspires this work?  Here's a quote from Ellsworth: 

"My ideas feel like they come from all over.  Things going on in my life tend to merge with ideas I've been thinking about, or a dream I had, and come out as a new idea.  A lot of my ideas come together right on the page, which is why I enjoy the automatic quality of drawing so much. Making detailed work puts me in a state of mind where I can be relaxed and alert at the same time, and just let the work flow.  I like being surprised by the outcome."

"I find nature really inspiring.  Ancient art always strikes a chord with me, as well as a lot of outsider art.  Adolf Wolfli, Henry Darger, Ernest Haekel, James Castle, Winsor McCay, Jack Kirby, Yuichi Yokoyama, and Jim Woodring are a few artists, off the top of my head, that get me inspired to sit down and make art.  My favorite magazine is Raw Vision.  I love comics and journals, and sketchbook art. I saw a nature documentary series called Life in the Undergrowth that inspired me more than most movies have, though I love film and all forms of storytelling."

So there you have it.  

For more of his works, check out his site:
his Flickr stream:
and his Etsy store:

Thanks everyone, for checking this out--hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  And thanks Theo, for your time and permission to do this.


  1. Hi, Tom! I am so happy to see that you posted about Theo's work! I LOVE Theo! I have known him for about 5 years and he is seriously one of the nicest guys ever. His work is absolutely amazing and to see him create those crazy scenes is pure inspiration. He just draws...No pencil, just pen and imagination. I have about 5 or 6 little drawings in my journal that he has done for me over the years at Artfest. Thank you for that post! I enjoyed it very much!
    Thanks also for your kind words on my new paintings. They look like they came from 2 different sources...sometimes I'm a little off my rocker! LOL That's the fun though! Thanks for checking in...I can't wait to see what you do next!

    1. Hi Sunny--missed this somehow. Thanks for the note--I am glad you liked the post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...