A portrait in acrylic of Barack Obama may be the best known work of art by a man who's in Bloomington-Normal to talk to students. Ted Ellis' "Obama, the 44th President," is an acrylic with swirling colors and high contrasts that may bring Van Gogh to mind. Ellis says he knew at a young age he wanted to create art:
"I guess about eight years old I used to sketch and doodle. I lived in New Orleans so I had an opportunity to see all the artists in the French Quarter, and Jackson Square, you know, and I was always a curious kid so I'd ask questions and then I'd go to the Public Library and learn as much as I could."
That included examining the works of the masters in the family encyclopedia. He also says art is an important part of education, and a universal way of communicating. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities just lost $7 Million dollars in funding as a result of sequestration. Ellis has a name for his style of art too:
"I call it 'Tedism,' it's a bit folk art and a bit impressionism, you know it's like a gumbo, you got all the ingredients there, and you just put it together your kind of way."
Ted Ellis is speaking at Bloomington High School at 8:45 in the morning. Plans call for him to teach a combined class of twin city students after his speech, he then heads to Fairview Elementary school to provide art instruction.
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