Bev Ellis

A local artist at the 2017 Art in the City

The clay may crack, the glaze may not fit, the kiln can misfire. The risk of disappointment or elation is ever-present. This keeps teaching me, refining my character and skills.

Whether it be printmaking, metalsmithing, drawing, or experimenting with mixed media, Bev loves to work with her hands to create art fueled by nature and raw beauty. Bev often creates both sculptures and 2D art of burnt-out trees with layers of peeling bark to symbolize the imperfections of humanity.

Being in the studio, discovering new things, and getting lost in the magic of creating something from scratch is what Bev loves most about artmaking. Always looking for fresh ideas to sketch, Bev lets the images flow from her mind and for her pen or paintbrush to wander. Like many, her creative process begins with an idea, a sketch, and a plan. The plan is flexible, so that it can easily conform to the designs that develop spontaneously along the way.

Bev spends the bulk of her studio time sculpting with clay, loving its tactile nature. She often thinks about what new technique she wants to learn and what material she’d like to try working with. For Bev, creativity isn’t just a passion, but a medium for learning and self-discovery. Some of her works portray themes of ‘art against racism,’ or are created with the purpose of raising funds for charities to help stop poverty and slavery. Bev aims to make a positive difference with her art, hoping that it will inspire and encourage, and cause people to pause and contemplate on global issues.

Bev wouldn’t be the artist she is today if it weren’t for some of the people that inspired her to be brave. Victor Cicansky was the first ceramic sculptor Bev ever discovered, and his work left an important and lasting impression on her long before she had the opportunity to work with clay. There is also Marc Chegal’s recent exhibit ‘Colour and Music’ that moved Bev. Chegal’s artwork, which incorporates themes of memory, dreams, religion and politics, was not only limited to one medium, as he explored various forms such as printmaking, drawing, set design, and stained-glass windows—a technique that intrigues Bev.

Residing in Surrey, Bev’s home studio has been a good fit for her as she doesn’t have to leave her family to go to work. She can check on her artwork’s progress or put extra time in the studio while keeping a flexible schedule to be present in her family life. Bev is thankful to have become a member of the Surrey Art Gallery and Semiahmoo Arts, where she has had opportunities to exhibit her work, teach classes, volunteer, meet other artists, and be in an environment that values art and the artist community.

Bev’s advice for other artists out there is to find the parts of the creative process that bring you the most joy, and repeat them daily. Don’t neglect your studio time. Keep learning. Do not allow yourself to ride the rollercoaster of people’s criticism and praise. Don’t be afraid to make a difference in the world.

Bev will be participating in Art in the City, a two-day self-guided tour on September 30 and October 1 around 8 Surrey locations housing 29 artists displaying their work! Click here for full event details