5 Questions: Ellen Greene

Put-on-a-happy-Face'_Detail-©_Ellen-Greene-2017 Put on a Happy Face, Detail © Ellen Greene 2017

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Now don’t get me wrong- I have fears, I can really get wound up about the state of affairs politically or get tripped up on my past or future or my kids past or future. But nothing absolutely nothing will change by loosing sleep. When I do not sleep I am a total wreck. So If I am being kept up at night I need to look at what I am trying to control that is uncontrollable. I need to pray and meditate, make a gratitude list, then take a hot bath.

Remember © Ellen Greene 2014

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
I saw my favorite musician Chad VanGaalen. He does not tour a lot so, though I have been a fan for many years, it was the first time I ever saw him live. His work is really spectacular. He draws and animates his own videos as well as playing all the instruments on the recording.

And still reverberating through my skull is the superior solo show by Kerry James Marshall. I saw it this past summer (2017) at the MCA. That was a personal watershed moment for me to see his work and funny enough the video interview at the beginning of show. His words about his work were something that I needed to hear. Right time. Right place.

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
I am always excited about everything all the time! Its hard to put anything into a hierarchy of excitement. So here is whats currently happening:

I am working on a children’s book with my partner Don Guss. I don’t do a lot of collaborative work so its really fun to be in synergy with someone to the degree that we are. I am getting to do some of the cartooning and character drawing I used to do as a kid. We laugh a lot through the process.

Little Red © Ellen Greene 2016

I finally finished a piece that I had set aside for several years. Its a pair of custom sewn gloves that are 10 ft long and have no opening- just two hands connected and I painted every inch. They will be on display with a couple of other glove pieces for a show at Paradigm Gallery opening Jan 26th in Philadelphia.

Then I have an ongoing body of work that is rounding the corner toward being finished or at least setting the foundation for the rest of the work that will be completed end of 2018. I have no exhibition plans for it yet- but the not knowing is really exciting. Anything could happen.

American Nightmare © Ellen Greene 2017

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
Again- I can’t choose just one! Alice Neel, Louise Bourgeois and Frida Khalo with Courtney Love and Patti Smith all around a dinner table would be amazing. The conversation, the personalities the ultimate drama. I think all those ladies in some way are already on my team. Their music and visual output is sustaining to my soul. They are guides. They have been where I am going.

But even then, if I could actually have them in real time and space with me. I would have to send them home at the end of the dinner. Because when it came time to get to work. It would need to be just me.

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
“Prayery Girl” the journey inward of a red headed, tattooed rebel girl from Kansas.

Brides Dress © Ellen Greene 2016
Mother Mystery © Ellen Greene 2013
Put on a Happy Face © Ellen Greene 2017
Miss America © Ellen Greene 2011