Artist of the Week: Ellis McKeown

I am a 19 year old student from Liverpool studying Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). I have always had a strong interest in art and currently trying to publicise my work in as many ways as possible. After speaking with other artists around the area, the message is that at any age it’s hard to get noticed, so I thought I would try to get started early.

Living with flat mates who constantly ask ‘what is art?’ is amusing, as I reply that art is anything that you want it to be. If you feel passionately about anything that you create then you should stand firm beside it. Most people will always be confused as to what art is, however, if that person has their own opinion on my piece of work, then in my mind, what I have created has influenced them. As the old saying goes, any attention is good attention.

I have always held a strong interest in history and world events, which can be shown in some of my pieces. My work is not made to offend, but to send a message to the viewer, to let them make their own mind up on the situation. Sometimes my work contains hidden messages, or even messages that mean something to me personally. One particular topic that is close to me is the Hillsborough disaster. The effect it had on my family has forced me to have a strong opinion on the event. This has led me to create a number of pieces that are influenced by it, including a visually strong piece that shows the entrance of the Leppings Lane stand. The piece was created when doing a project on the ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ with this particularly focusing on the sin of Sloth. The interpretation in my painting shows a police hat left on a chair, symbolising the ‘laziness’ of the police, underlining the failure of police crowd control. I have also created other images that include Margaret Thatcher that question why certain aspects of the event were covered up, and to this day, still are.

unnamed-3As I have grown into the university course it’s clear to me that art doesn’t always have to focus on a certain event, or even have to have a certain meaning. I have come to learn that I can create art using all sorts of different materials. During one of my projects at university I have done this by creating a clean and clear image amongst the confusion in a person’s face. This gives the viewer a lot to take in, wondering whether the piece is focussed on the main ‘head’ or the cuttings out. I like the idea of creating ‘confusing’ art as different people will have a range of opinions of my work. I am currently starting my second semester at university, having completed my first two projects, and now on my way to my final project of my first year. This gives me the ability to be able to continue techniques that I have previously learnt, with no limitations on what I can or cannot do, taking ideas from both of the first semesters projects.

UCLan was my first choice when going to university. I liked how the course was run, giving you a sense of freedom in the studio whilst also having the support from the tutors. I chose this university as I believed that UCLan would help me progress in the art world by setting me up for the future. The Fine Art course at first glance was very appealing as it would allow me to be creative with no restrictions. The facilities available are excellent, with a varied amount of workshops on offer.

2016 will be an interesting year as it will be my degree show. This is the final step before venturing out on my own, aspiring to become an artist. I know it will be hard at first, but I am willing to risk that if it means I get to do something that I love.

I hope you can join me on my progression through university, and the journey that beholds me after.


Twitter – @ellismckeownArt

Instagram – @ellismckeown