Marcy Ellis: Full Artist Spotlight

Photo of the artist, a red-haired woman in a peach dress in front of a desert background with a saguaro cactus


How did you get started creating your pieces?

I owe so much to my sweet parents, who supported and encouraged every single creative and artistic endeavor from the moment I could hold a pencil. I didn’t have art in school until I was older, so I am very thankful I had giant cookie tins full of crayons, paint and every single gel pen color you could ask for.

I was raised on a plant nursery our family owned and operated in rural New Mexico. As a child, my entire world was outside. Using my imagination, my little sister and I playing in the plants gave me so many abundant opportunities to be creative. In high school, I had an incredible art teacher who believed in me and saw my potential. He introduced me to a whole new realm where living an art-filled life could actually be possible. Inspired by him, I enrolled in University of Arizona’s Art School and studied Studio Art and Art Education. I later became an art teacher and taught for about 7 years until leaving in 2019 to focus on my art full time. 

In art school, after a terrible relationship and an even worse break up, I was searching for a way to reconnect with myself and reclaim my body. Throwing myself in my art practice was the best medicine. I took Intaglio printmaking and discovered I could say so much with delicate line-work than I ever could before. I became obsessed with letting my hands flow freely with the pen. I started drawing these figures connected to the landscape, creating a new world that I found ultimate peace in.

Now, over a decade later, the world I was creating for myself resonates with people all over the globe. 

What’s the favorite part of your work/what you make?

I love that I get to create so many different products! It’s quite a variety from fine art prints, to stickers, postcards, apparel and special collaborations like ceramics and candles. I also have the incredible opportunity to design custom tattoos inspired by my artwork-that might be one of my favorite aspects of my work.


Two people with black ink tattoos of Marcy Ellis's artwork a mix of plants and women

A lot of my clients come to me to reconnect with their higher self, to reclaim their body or honor a loved one- really deep and special ideas. Getting to connect with those who resonate so much with my work that they want to have it on their body forever-that’s just the cherry on top!!

How do you express your creativity through your work?

Depending on what the project is, I try to find a connection- when I can personally relate to a piece or aspects of a piece, the best work pours out of me. I also try to let the piece speak to me as I go. I don’t plan too much and try to be free with my imagery. Each drawing goes through so many different phases and in a sense, lives a few different lives. I try not to have too many expectations or know exactly what I want the final design to look like. 

When I draw, I use a variety of pens and ink. With drawing, I am much more detailed and can be a bit obsessive with my line-work. 

If I’m painting, I use watercolor paints and am much freer-letting the colors do most of the work. 

I love working with both mediums, drawing and painting, because it feels like both parts of me; detailed and analytical but also free, bright and colorful. 

What brings you joy?

Living this artful life and cherishing every moment that comes with it-challenges and all. It’s such a special gift to be a full time artist and I don’t take this job lightly. I am so grateful everyday that I get to wake up and head to my studio to create. Living this life and staying true to who I am and what I can bring to the world is my biggest joy. 

What challenge(s) have you overcome?

I was an elementary art teacher for about 7 years before leaving to pursue my art full time. I have always been the type with a plan and jumping into this new adventure was something I didn’t have a real plan for. But It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have grown so much as a person and artist being in this role now.

Owning your own business is incredibly challenging and you are responsible for literally everything, your entire livelihood. It can be scary and uncertain at times, but I have grown into trusting myself and believing in my work-which gives me no option but to persevere. 

I have been full time for over 3 years now! Within that time, I have moved into a large studio (out of my house!!!) which has allowed me to double my business each year and gives me space to dream big! I am so proud of the many partnerships with brick and mortar shops all over the country as well as so many collaborations on branding, murals and custom tattoo designs.  Learning to trust in this work- and myself- has been the biggest challenge, but the biggest reward.

Framed flower headed women art piece

Anything exciting in the works/coming up for you? 

I am always excited for the holiday season! Currently, I’m busy prepping, getting ready and putting the last touches on a few new products-which is so exciting.  I’ve got a few local markets coming up—see ya at Phoenix Flea on Nov. 26! This busy season brings so much fuel to my fire. It’s the time to show off all the hard work that has been brewing all year. 

I am releasing my 2023 lunar calendar and a few special apparel pieces-i’m so excited to share those with the world! This year will mark my 4th lunar calendar! It’s really special to put each one alongside the others and see how much my art has grown throughout the years. 

What do you wish for the world? 

More empathy, more patience, more crayons. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

You can find more of my work online:

Instagram: @marcyellis


Shop Marcy's Collection at MADE here