Black Banjo Arts is Ellie Bryan

As an artist, crafter, and musician, I strive to create pieces that unite the animal world with our everyday life. I believe that the animals around us -found either in their natural habitat or in the habitats humans have created- have stories to tell us. They are messengers and harbingers of the old and new; as spiritual beings, animals have a connection with the earth that we once held, but must now struggle to rekindle. I tell these stories and traditions by creating objects and music that embody these messages to forge a unity that is so often lost between creature and place. I am also heavily inspired by the feminine. For me these ideas resonate with as much spiritual power as our animal counterparts, and hold one of the most direct connections that we still have with the earth. I draw many parallels between the instinctual nature of animals and the intuitive nature of feminine humans.

I use porcelain vessels as the surface for my sgraffito drawings. Ceramic vessels, objects that can harbor life (as vases), spirits (as urns), and give sustenance to their holder (through food and drink) are ancient and traditional objects. I reference these traditions through use of pagan symbolism and ritual, and using ceramics as the medium allows me to create objects that people can readily welcome into their daily lives. I write and perform songs as a means to express what I have learned from my experiences. Using music as a medium, I can tell my stories in a way that people can also welcome into their everyday lives if they so choose.

I use traditional crafter's techniques to create my ceramic pieces, but hope to engage the viewers as they interpret the ritualistic display of the work that references altars and pagan traditions. I play the banjo and sing in a style that uses inspiration drawn from my mixed-race ancestry and tradition. Using these means to display and present my work, I strive to create an atmosphere that unites us with our animal counterparts and feminine bodies in a society that continues to grow distant from both.

Ellie Bryan is a ceramicist, illustrator, and musician living in Minneapolis. She has been pursuing the visual arts since childhood, originally working in oil painting, lino-cuts, and sculptural clay. From ages 16-20 she studied photography, and from ages 21-today she has been working in porcelain and illustrative drawing. Her work consists of both dark and natural imagery, mainly using animals, feminine imagery, and bones. She has been singing and playing the banjo since 2011 and her band, Crow Call, performs traditional and original dark folk music in the Twin Cities area.

Legal imprint