Zoe Ellenberg is a multi-talented artist and sculptor from Melbourne. I caught up with her recently and asked her about her work and what’s on her agenda for the rest of the year.
You have a history of artists in your family – can you tell me a bit about that and how that has influenced you?
Yes, I come from a very artistic family on both sides. My father is very artistic and we were always surrounded by very creative people. I have grown up playing amongst great studio spaces, playing around paints, clay, marble chips, and as a kid I thought this was normal.
My uncle, Joel Ellenberg is a well-known sculptor, my cousin is an architect, another cousin is a writer, and my brother Joshua Ellenberg is an amazing artist too.
How would you describe your style and what inspires you?
I would describe my style as very expressionist. I love spontaneity of the application and discovering worlds within the paint. Many things inspire me. The sun, plants, landscapes, travel. Painting and sculpture is a way of recording a moment, feeling, or emotion. I can still tell you exactly when and where I did each painting from and a flood of memories will come back.
Was there a time that you remember when you went from doing art to being an artist?
Good question! I had always thought of myself as an artist as I have been exhibiting from a young age. However I think it has only been in the last three years that I really feel like I am an artist. I think this has to do with finally giving up my job and becoming a full time artist. I can finally say I can make a living from it. This has made me look at myself as a professional and take myself more seriously. It’s a nice change.
Do you have a preference in terms of painting or sculpture?
I love both. Painting and sculpture are very different for me and both allow me to express myself. Painting is more layered – many applications, larger strokes and movement whereas sculpture is more structured and relaxing… until I get out the angle grinder!
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a body of work for the newly relocated gallery ‘Joshua McClelland Print Room’ @ Rathdown Gallery in Carlton from the 7th October until the 31st. I am really excited about this. It will consist of paintings and small sculptures. They are an amazing bunch of women at the gallery and Joan the director is 100 years old. She is incredible.
What kinds of art and/or artists are you personally interested in?
All the old greats – Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Australian artists: Brett Whiteley, Joy Hester, Mirka Mora, Albert Tucker and contemporary artists like Ricky Swallow, Catherine Anderson and Joshua Ellenberg.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist in terms of starting out?
Keep at it and don’t be deterred by knock backs. Keep doing something related to your vocation each day. In the end you will see results.
Check out some of Zoe’s amazing work.