New Orleans Native, Ted Ellis, Introduces New Paintings Documenting Hurricane Katrina at National Black Fine Art Show

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Nationally acclaimed southern artist, Ted Ellis of T.Ellis Art Inc., returns to the 10th Annual National Black Fine Art Show with several paintings from his captivating new series, appropriately titled “Healing, Hope and Rebirth”, depicting the needed process of healing, the embrace of hope, and the deeply innate goal of rebirth for Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Nationally acclaimed southern artist, Ted Ellis of T.Ellis Art Inc., returns to the 10th Annual National Black Fine Art Show with several paintings from his captivating new series, appropriately titled “Healing, Hope and Rebirth”, depicting the needed process of healing, the embrace of hope, and the deeply innate goal of rebirth for Hurricane Katrina survivors. With a body of work celebrating African American life and culture, reminiscent of Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, Ted has garnered a following among New York’s art elite and throughout the country. With his mind on his art and his heart on New Orleans, he eagerly anticipates making another indelible mark on the Big Apple this year. The show, held at the Puck Building in SoHo, runs from Thursday, February 2 through Saturday, February 4th, with a widely-anticipated charity reception on Wednesday, February 1, benefiting the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Ted’s work will be featured as part of the Vargas Fine Art space.

Growing up in the Big Easy, New Orleans was the backdrop that passionately inspired Ellis to capture the essence of the characters of his childhood in the glory of their rich cultural heritage. Referring to himself as a "creative historian," Ted’s visual narratives in his famed series "Celebrating American Life and Culture," document the passion, dignity, strength and unyielding courage of these subjects. Boldly blending realism and impressionism, evoking nostalgia and inspiration, the series vividly pans through the social, spiritual, work and family life settings of his southern roots, creating a cultural heirloom for African Americans and a national treasure for America. In August of 2005, the landscape that birthed those images changed forever with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

Now a resident of Friendswood, Texas near Houston, Ted returned to his beloved hometown after the hurricane to witness firsthand the devastating loss to the area. His mother’s home and childhood neighborhood were completely destroyed, along with several of his priceless paintings, one of which had been on display in a local elementary school. Known for his generosity and proactive spirit, Ted housed and aggressively worked to relocate over sixty relatives from his immediate and extended families. Several weeks after the hurricane, he was featured on MSNBC discussing how his family would begin the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. Months after, most of his family has been successful in beginning the rebuilding process but the searing images of loss have placed a burden on his heart to keep the story in the public’s eye. With a new backdrop etched in his mind, he has once again taken brush to canvas to bring the deeply poignant images to life in his new series of paintings.

Expressing grave concern for the large numbers of people still displaced without housing, jobs, and medical care, Ted is determined to make this series one of the catalysts that encourages the nation to continue supporting the ongoing relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina survivors. With the past success of partnering with both small companies and corporate giants such as Avon Incorporated, Exxon/Mobil, Walt Disney Studios, UNCF, and The Coco Cola Company, Ted has begun searching for sponsoring organizations to produce a traveling exhibit. The goal of the exhibit is to encourage an ongoing dialogue and generate sales from the prints of the paintings with 100% of the profits going to organizations supporting Katrina relief efforts. Ted describes himself and his mission best when he says “at the end of the day, I am simply an artist with a purpose – trying to help others through my art.”

In this series, as in all of his work, despite the conditions surrounding the lives of his subjects, his artistic perspective is always one of embracing hope and marching on with a determination toward a future that can surpass all of the good and bad of it’s past and present.

Additional information about Ted Ellis, Ted Ellis Art, Inc. is available on the web. His work is also on display at galleries throughout the country and in the T. Ellis Fine Art showroom in Friendswood, Texas (281-933-0300). http://www.tellisfineart.com

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Cindy Parris
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