Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcy Ellis.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I draw inspiration from flora, the natural world, and the female form. A childhood split between rural agriculture and a suburban planned community set in the open desert, I was immersed in the beauty and simplicity of nature at a young age. My parents owned a small plant nursery catering specifically to southwest plants. I remember growing up surrounded by rows of native plants thriving inside 5-gallon pots. My sister and I created secret escapes inside Juniper trees; our secret garden. Catching ‘goat-heads’ on your bare feet if you weren’t careful. I remember my mother, relentless, baby on her hip, child in wheelbarrow and shovel in hand.
Abundant flora, the desert and my powerful mother and sister inspired my first drawings of women.
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education from the University of Arizona in 2011. While attending art school, I became obsessed with researching meanings, historical and biblical references to plants and flowers. I would connect the research from the plants to women directly in my life and the strength of women surrounding the world around me.
These illustrations of women and florals created my small business 4 years ago. Within the past 4 years, my work grew from only showing at local galleries to selling in boutiques across the country, creating commissions internationally as well as opening an entirely new venue of drawing tattoo illustrations.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I was taught to work harder than you’d expect from someone else and leave the room brighter than it was before you entered it. This advice has shaped my business and my work ethic. However, no one can prepare you for those first few tastes of rejection.
As an artist, you should accept criticism. You should accept rejection. It’s going to happen a lot. It should happen. Take these moments as building blocks for future endeavors and opportunities to prove that you ARE a badass.
I remind myself every day to advocate for myself as if no one else will advocate for me. Advocate for yourself as if no one else will advocate for you.
We’d love to hear more about you, Marcy Ellis.
Most of my work is created in pen and ink with watercolor. I use a variety of micron pens, India ink and natural watercolors I make by boiling down produce in my kitchen. In addition to natural dyes, I paint with coffee, tea, and wine to saturate colors. Recently, I’ve been exploring the business of creating tattoo illustrations. I create original illustrations, turn those into stencils and work with various local tattoo artists who transform my line-work into forever works of art.
In addition to original illustrations and prints, I make and sell desert smudge bundles. These are packed with herbs I forage from the desert, Palo Santo, Rose Quartz and original illustrations. These bundles are used to smudge and clear the air.
Recently, I created a line of underwear. I hand indigo-dye white cotton underwear and work with a local screen printer to screen print my illustrations on the back of the cutest (and comfiest!) undies.
I love collaborating locally! I’ve created t-shirt designs with breweries and boutiques in Tucson.
Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
I’m so super thankful for social media! A large part of my business is done through Etsy and Instagram.
Creating an Etsy shop takes dedication and patience! Within the past year, my little Etsy shop has made over 250 sales! I create a ton of commissions through connection with amazing women on Instagram, too!