Ella Carty (born 1971 in Nairobi, Kenya) studied BA Fine Art: Painting at Cheltenham College of Art 1990–94 and is an alumna of Digswell Arts in Hertfordshire (2010–14). She lives near Falmouth in Cornwall and has a studio at Krowji in Redruth.
Ella is a painter who investigates her own experiences of the world. Her semi-abstract paintings incorporate a love of colour and pattern, absorbing and interpreting her surroundings. She treads a line between representation and abstraction with the aim of sparking the viewer’s curiosity, igniting their imagination.
About 10 years ago, Ella started using acrylic inks as a way of moving away from the toxic cleaning substances like turpentine and white spirit that often go hand in hand with painting in oils. She loves the colour intensity, fluidity and versatility of acrylic inks and the commitment to the mark that they bring. Once it is there, it is hard to eliminate or work over. It is a very different method of working to oils, where you can scrape paint off or continually work over the surface of the painting.
Ella’s most recent body of work depicts interior spaces in saturated colour. The springboard for these paintings were old sketchbooks that she found at home and trawled through for source material when we were unable to go out during lockdown. Some of them contained ink and brush drawings of rooms and interior spaces, which Ella worked from to create images of imagined spaces outside the confines of her home.
“I was craving warmth and colour – sensations that weren’t on offer during the Cornish winter. I use colour to depict a reinvention of both real and imagined spaces. Our rooms, our domestic environments, became both our sanctuary and our place of confinement. Paintings are like rooms; you can step into them and be transported to another place entirely.”
Ella exhibits widely in group and solo shows in the UK, including a solo exhibition Rooms in Stones Café Krowji in 2022 and Drawing from Rocks, an online solo show with Terrace Gallery (Penryn, Cornwall) in 2020. Her recent group exhibitions include those at Morgans (Falmouth, Cornwall) in 2023 and 2022, Near and Far, a joint Gala Fine Art/ArtDog show at Ballroom Arts (Aldeburgh, Suffolk) and Memory at Newlyn Society of Artists (Tremenheere, Cornwall), both in 2022; The Joy of Small Things at Terrace Gallery (Penryn, Cornwall), Summer Show at Eastwood Fine Art (Stockbridge, Hampshire), The Bright Side at The Byre Gallery (Millbrook, Cornwall) and Looking Forward, Newlyn Society of Artists in 2021; Penwith Society of Arts Summer Show and Winter Show at Penwith Gallery (St Ives, Cornwall), and Summer Show and Autumn Show at Eastwood Fine Art in 2020; and Spring Exhibition and Autumn Exhibition at Far and Wild Gallery (Perranporth, Cornwall) in 2019.
Ella has also been represented several times at art fairs such as Battersea and Hampstead Affordable Art Fairs. She showed new paintings on Gala Fine Art’s stand at the Autumn edition of Battersea in October 2022. In November 2023, Gala Fine Art is showing new work by Ella at the Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam.
Ella’s work is in private collections all over the world, including the US, Canada, Australia and the Far East, as well as the UK and Europe.