John's life began in southeast Missouri. He has worked in three dimensions since childhood with his earliest memory being the building of a wooden boat with his great grandfather. His great grandfather was a master of making things and a kind person. These early days unknowingly became the beginning of his career.  

 He was educated in public schools, attending college briefly. His education is tactile in nature and acquired through the process of doing. Curiosity for him is one of the driving forces in life. It has propelled him forward enabling him to pursue whatever has interested him. His work is a blending of his interests coupled with his skill as a craftsman.

 His interest in art stems from a variety of different styles and periods. His work is influenced by an interest in four specific areas. He loves the simplicity of Shaker furniture as well as the lines and grids found in their designs. He is also influenced by Japanese architecture and furniture design. These simple factors are coupled with a high degree of interest in abstract expressionism as well as a slightly minimalistic approach. 

As a sculptor he can find no way to separate art from labor. Visions, concepts, and ideas are only realized through labor and the desire to complete them. It strikes him as odd that art is held in esteem and labor is given a separate weight, for without labor, art cannot exist. He works with stainless steel using the direct process of welding to fabricate his work.

He has chosen stainless steel for its durability, low maintenance, and for its wonderful capacity to absorb color and reflect the light of its surroundings. His objective in making his work is to create something which contains the things he seeks in his own life: simplicity, balance, and beauty.
Currently his work can be found in private, public, and corporate collections in the United States. 

Santa Fe Corner

I believe art communicates on its own terms much better than it does with words. Once given the meaning of words and sentences it loses some of its initial freedom. The freedom to be whatever those viewing a work of art deem it to be is of great importance to me. Yes, some pieces do have specific ideas and meanings to me, yet this does not mean they will to the viewer. I prefer for my pieces to remain open to the viewer’s experiences and their interpretations of the meaning of my work.

John Ellis

Tesuque Home

“Illusion is our reality. Art is our attempt to “fix" the illusion.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

The dance while we are here is the delight!”


Donald E. Shaw 8-24-1934 – 12-26-2015

A fellow artist and close friend for many years.

Tesuque Sunset

 © 2016 Property of John Ellis

Donor Ribbon