Travel is an important aspect of my life. I have traveled extensively, always photographing my unsuspecting traveling companions and the native people, trying to capture nuances of interactions, observing both unique characteristics and the commonality of people from different cultures. These photographs become the basis for my art. People are taken out of context and united on my canvas with stenciled pattern motifs that although modified, frequently signify some aspect of their culture. The large-scale paintings on hard surfaces and subject matter reference murals.
My painting techniques and current themes have evolved over time. Earlier versions were done on paper and referenced the work of other artists. Figures emerged as my primary subject: images of family and friends expanding to include strangers caught in the act of being themselves.
My most recent paintings are more detailed, exploring both pure abstraction and figuration. The subjects in 34 Degrees North x 134 Degrees East are your typical travelers in their sneakers and carrying their travel purses and backpack. A child is part of this group, a flashback to earlier paintings.
Ellen Isenson, originally from Chicago, attended Washington University in St. Louis and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. After moving to Los Angeles, Ellen studied design and business management and took on responsibility for management of J. Robert Scott in the U.SA. and Europe. Over her 29 years in interior design, Ellen was instrumental in developing and designing the company’s furniture and textile collections and setting up its manufacturing facilities and heading up the marketing department.
After studying different forms of artistic expression –textiles, drawing, painting, sculpture, and encaustic – Ellen found painting with oil the most satisfying. She explains, “Oil paint allows me to combine color with unlimited possibilities, similar to combining the threads in textiles to create a color palette.”
During this time, Ellen began working alongside her husband, Jimmy Isenson at L.A. Packing, Crating and Transport, a fine art handling company and Ashley Distributors, specializing in sales of art packing products – increasing her exposure to art on a daily basis.
Ellen’s artwork is now included in the following collections: Clare and Anthony Chapman (London, England and Palm Desert, CA), Wilma and Bert Finmark (Palm Desert, CA) Alison and Jason Wyrick (Denver, CO), Bradley and Lynda Metzger (Santa Monica, CA), Noreen and Allen Rubin (Coconut Grove, FL) and Ashley and Joel Nation (Van Nuys, CA). Ellen Isenson is a Founder and Corporate Benefactor of MOCA, and a member of the Fellows of Contemporary Art.
Mixed Media on Board 82"H x 69" W
Three Woman in Cuba
Oil on Board 65"H x 70"W
34 Degrees North x 134 Degrees East
Oil on Board, 60"H x 69"W