Harrison Ellenshaw’s foray into the art world began at age four, in England, when he sat at the foot of the easel of his famous father, renowned artist Peter Ellenshaw. Harrison, even at this very early age, showed an incredible enthusiasm, aptitude and talent for oil painting. By the time he was a teenager he had become an accomplished artist often imitating his father’s seascapes, reflecting the deft touch needed to recreate, as realistically as possible, the power and solemnity of nature.
After a stint in the Navy, where he made extensive tours of Asia and the Pacific, Harrison added photography to his array of skills, leading him to work at the Disney studios learning the craft of visual effects. It was there as a matte painter, that Ellenshaw, once again following in his father’s footsteps, further refined his sensibilities as an artist. With significant work on major motion pictures including: STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and TRON, he helped blaze new trails in the looks of futuristic and fantastical worlds. Even so, his gallery artwork remained grounded in a lyrical reflection of the real world.
It was Harrison’s visual effects work on the 1990 release of DICK TRACY that firmly established him as a leader and innovator par excellence in the field. One of the commonalities between film and painting is the necessity to establish a third dimension in a two dimensions medium; Harrison has accomplished this illusion deftly and impressively. He brings to his paintings a facile and dynamic use of color reminiscent of the Fauves and Expressionists. With a diverse subject matter and high-key palette, his landscapes, cityscapes and riverscapes create a new approach to realism. His works have a resonance, and inner radiance fashioned with a brush alive to new possibilities and horizons.
Lifelong travels abroad in Europe and throughout the Southwest of America have continually expanded Ellenshaw’s visual horizons—leading him to the colorful and dynamic works we see today. His work has been exhibited at the prestigious Hammer Galleries in New York as well as galleries in London and San Francisco.