Hoi Ellis is a San Antonio based, self-taught, sustainable assemblage artist that mines, repurposes and redefines unconventional, quotidian materials rescued from the urban wasteland and fuses them together in unexpected combinations to create poetic, abstract sculptural portraits of our society. Using simple woodworking practices, light engineering and basic artistic techniques, Ellis produces small, subtle pieces that don’t overtly express a meaning or have a fixed purpose or intent. A unique feature of his contemporary artwork is that his intricate, yet minimalistic arrangements almost always appear mask or face-like.
Ellis draws inspiration from his not so complicated past, factious present, and anticipated future. A variety of noticeable influences can be seen throughout his catalog of work, including his Black experience in America, urban life in South Central Texas, pre-millennial pop culture, and music (mainly contemporary gospel, old school R&B, and hip hop). Themes, such as joy, the fragility of life, the transience of human undertakings, and more recently, afrofuturism are commonly explored.
By recontextualizing salvaged materials that would otherwise go to waste, such as pallet wood and other urban debris like scrap metal, broken tools, old car parts, discarded appliances, clothes and toys, Ellis promotes sustainability. His innovative amalgamation of these reclaimed items become novel and compelling in their metamorphosis. The results of his efforts are always fantastical, quirky, and sometimes eccentric pieces that one could never tell were made from items previously discarded.
Ellis is a member of the Art of 4, a Black art initiative organized by Maria M. Williams, Founder and Curator of In the Eye of the Beholder (EOTB) Art Gallery and Studio. In addition to being a resident EOTB gallery artist, he currently serves as the EOTB Gallery Ambassador - assisting in the daily general operations of the gallery, art project management, event planning, education and outreach. He is also a guest educator and workshop facilitator at the McNay Art Museum.
His work has been showcased at the City of San Antonio, San Antonio International Airport, the Witte Museum, Artpace San Antonio, Frost Tower -San Antonio, as well as part of many local, state, national and international artists’ exhibitions and events. In addition, University of Texas Health San Antonio (UTHSA) recently acquired multiple pieces of his artwork to be a part of its permanent collection and will be featured at the new University of Texas Women & Children's Hospital opening in 2023.
Ellis holds a B.A. Degree in Geography from Prairie View A&M University and a M.A. Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, an American Planning Association Certified City Planner (AICP) and is a Certified Teacher (TExES Social Studies Composite: Grades 7-12). He has over 20 years of professional experience in education, cartography, grant writing/administration, project management, grassroots community organizing, consensus building and fundraising.
For more information about acquiring or curating his artwork, scheduling an appearance, or soliciting participation in an exhibit or an event, please contact his management agent - Maria Williams, Owner and Curator, In the Eye of the Beholder Art Gallery and Studio at (210) 600-4141.
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