Canvases of kaleidoscopic energy vibrate with spiritual understanding. The complexities of identity and gender collide with personal awareness. A multidimensional space is created where one is seen and heard. Questions of how we make our reality are represented through color fields of mystic sensitivity.
Twenty-three-year-old trans non-binary queer artist Ell Treese exists in a world of possibilities. Living with the pronouns they/them, Ell accepts their gender as fluid.
“We all have masculine and feminine energy. Coming out as trans and being comfortable not identifying as a man or a woman has given me a clarity of self that allows my spirituality and creativity to intertwine,” said Ell.
With intention, Ell has developed a style of Energy Painting. This intuitive process is part of an intimate collaboration between the artist and the patron. Similar to a Tarot reading or Reiki technique, Ell asks permission to tune into the energy of the person and begins visualizing the painting as they continue their dialog.
“My work has always been a language for me to communicate things that are hard to explain, can’t be explained with words, or just a feeling that comes from me or someone else to spark inspiration.”
The paintings themselves are often a mix of abstract and figurative work. Ell uses the spiritual colors of a person’s aura or chakras to help bring an understanding of where a person is at any given moment. They see this as curating a painting that is personally catered to the patron.
This is a new direction for Ell’s creative path. Working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts from VCUarts in Richmond, Virginia, Ell had an entirely different view of the direction life was going.
“I was supposed to graduate with my friends. I had lined up artist residencies in Portugal and Spain. I was ready to push myself into the art world. Then COVID-19 hit,” said the artist.
Forced to leave campus, Ell joined their parents in San Diego for three months. They graduated from a family friend’s garage and began to reassess the future. Working with a creative coach, Ell soon realized that they were on a spiritual path and with a whole new lens on reality, accepted the opportunities that brought about an understanding of their abilities.
“Once I was able to do the work for myself, I realized that my creativity was a gift that I could do for myself and share with others. Spirituality is at the heart of it. It’s not really planned out. It comes from my soul. Because the art is a combination of my hand and the patron’s energy, the result is an artwork that offers healing and guidance.”
Ell looks fondly at their time in Richmond. It was a place of significant personal growth. Ell was born in Dayton, Ohio. Without any role models other than the binary norms, Ell originally assumed the role as a woman and a straight person. It was in Richmond that they went through the difficult transition to accept the truth about themself.
“The diversity of a big city allowed me to look at myself in a different way for the first time. I began to peel back layers of things that I had been telling myself I was and began to discover my true self,” said Ell. “In my sophomore year, I began to understand that I was gay and that sparked a huge transition in embracing the understanding that I wasn’t a girl. I was a difficult time but I was fortunate to be surrounded by a very supportive community who allowed me space to figure out myself. It was there I began to use art to express to myself and to others what I could not put into words.”
Now living as a proud non-binary person who is comfortable in their own skin, Ell has moved into an apartment; taken up a studio practice at The Studio Door; and is dedicating time to expand their creativity with a certificate in psychic training.
“I want to keep at these energy paintings to establish a rhythm with them. Keep healing. Keep growing. Keep on the path that I am on. Maintain momentum to make myself known in this new place.
Artist Ell Treese can be found online on their website at EllTreese.com and
on social media: @ell_tree on Instagram.
Patric Stillman is a fine artist and gallery owner of The Studio Door. If you are an artist in San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community and would like to be featured in an artist profile, please contact Patric for consideration at firstname.lastname@example.org.