A dichotomy of life...




The little farmer...


Jay is an artist with a rich and colorful history. From an early age, he showed a strong work ethic and determination, working on a farm in Minnesota for money at the age of seven. He was observant and curious, taking in the world around him as he worked in the fields.

His artistic talent was recognized early on when he won a tri-state art contest in fourth grade for his drawing of a beggar.

Despite feeling ashamed of his interest in art as a boy, Jay continued to explore his creativity.

A trip to El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico at the age of 9 exposed him to the vibrant colors and handicrafts of the region and inspired him to create wild beast pictures on brown wrapping paper.

His work caught the attention of Vera Wise, the head of the art department at Texas Western and his father's cousin, who exhibited it at the University. Jay's upbringing on a small farm without modern conveniences may have been challenging, but his mother believed it was good for his imagination.


"Brings fresh life to the convention of the genre..." 

John Russell, The New York Times, 1981




As he grew older and attended the University of Minnesota, Jay initially majored in Business with the goal of making money. However, his interest in art persisted and secretly he eventually took on a second major in Art History. Despite his initial reluctance to embrace his artistic side, Jay's journey shows that he has always been drawn to the mystery and beauty of art. He is a self-taught artist that treats his imagination as sacred.




Jay's work delves into the internal struggle between good and evil that exists within the human soul. He draws inspiration from both spiritual and physical realms, and his art pieces reflect the undeniable presence of both sexuality and physicality in human existence.


Brooklyn Museum Exhibition

Book Project by Jay Ells


DATES:  September 19, 1981, through November 15, 1981

Check the link below:

Brooklyn Museum

Press release:

PUB_Press_releases_1981_012.jpg (3429×4436) (brooklynmuseum.org)


"Imaginative genius..." 

The Saturday News, News Center 4, WNBC, 1975





Through art, Jay seeks to capture the essence of this duality, portraying the tension and balance between these opposing forces. The use of both suppressed and bold colors melts into dynamic compositions that convey the intensity of this inner conflict, while the incorporation of symbolic imagery adds depth and meaning to his work.

As an artist his unique style and perspective offer a fresh take on this timeless theme, inviting viewers to contemplate their own relationship with these fundamental aspects of human nature. Through the exploration of the dichotomy of life, the artist challenges us to confront our own inner demons and embrace the complexity of our being.