Josiah Ellner (b. 1996, Milwaukee) is an American artist based in Chicago. Ellner received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 2019. In 2023, he received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC). His paintings are known for their awkward and playful figures that reflects on the connections between people and nature.
Ellner amplifies the awkward, whimsical, and sometimes humorous figures to achieve what it means to interact with the world around us. Growing up in urban environments gave a sense of alienation, he was drawn to moments that embody the feelings of unity with nature. Influenced by his multicultural upbringing between China and the United States, as well as his own childhood memories and curiosities, he explores the fantasies and abilities of the subconscious mind.
His works have been included in exhibitions including ‘Last Call’ at The Color Club (Chicago, 2023), ‘Come Kiss’ at Very Serious Gallery (Chicago, 2023), ‘California Dreamin’ at Lorin Gallery (Los Angeles, 2023), ‘Homecoming’ at Tchotchke Gallery (New York, 2023), ‘Continuum’ at Kenilworth Galleries (Milwaukee, 2022), ‘Hella’ Good’ at Glass Rice Gallery (San Francisco, 2022), ‘Panorama’ at Cohle Gallery (Menorca, Spain, 2022), ‘Gentle Distraction’ at Aout Gallery (Beirut, 2022), ‘Second Edition’ at Eve Leibe Gallery (London, 2022) and ‘We might have been born yesterday… but we stayed up all night’ at Between Two Galleries (Milwaukee, 2020).
He was awarded the Teaching Fellowship and the Carrie Ellen Tuttle Fellowship from SAIC (both 2023). He was a resident artist at the Oxbow School of Art in Saugatuck, Missouri (2023).