Artist Portfolio

Ella Yang

Artist Biography

Ella Yang, a native New Yorker, is a mostly self-taught representational oil painter based in Brooklyn, New York. Yang has exhibited regularly in solo and group exhibitions in and around New York City. In the summer of 2006, she spent a month at the internationally recognized artist residency program, the Vermont Studio Center. Yang can be found in the book 100 New York Painters, by C.M. Dantzic (Schiffer Publishing, 2006). Her paintings are in private collections in the USA, as well as Hong Kong, Italy, France, and Austria. Yang was honored by the selection of three paintings by the Art in Embassies program of the U.S. State Department to be on loan to the U.S. Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2014-18. Yang has always been actively involved with various artist organizations, most recently with Arts Gowanus, and has curated and organized several art exhibitions in NYC. Yang is a graduate of Yale College.


When I was a child, my mother routinely pointed out small details and encouraged me to notice the colors, shapes, and textures nearby, whether a pot of flowers tucked into a corner or a ray of sunlight peeking out from behind ragged clouds. This practice of being fully aware is a critical part of my art-making process. I paint to honor the liveliness and richness all around me, as a visual homage to the bounty in my life.

I am mostly a self-taught artist, and enjoy painting "en plein air", when the weather permits. I also work from sketches and photos, but only of places where I've actually been. Based in Brooklyn, NY, I usually look for subjects in my backyard. I select scenes to paint, whether a gritty industrial street next to the Gowanus Canal or a neighborhood sidewalk with its mom-and-pop shops, where the man-made interacts with Nature. Escapes from the city offer peacefulness and cleaner air, but I still look for “architectural” elements. My natural inclination is towards commonplace situations that seem to have a special patina at the moment I am there.

My goal is to find a simple way to capture the spirit of a scene at a particular instance. Inevitably the paintings become infused with my own wonder and delight at having discovered something – a pattern, a gesture, an angle of light – that is inherently beautiful. At best my paintings pay tribute to the abundant benefits of attentiveness. When it's all working well, painting can be a form of highly active meditation.

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