Ellen Priest's inspiration comes from surprisingly diverse sources. Life-long visual art influences include Cézanne's late watercolors, Matisse's color and compositional structure, and Abstract Expressionism, especially the paintings of Willem De Kooning and Joan Mitchell. She is also inspired by rhythmic and harmonic structures in jazz and African and Latin American music, and has used jazz as the subject for her layered, collaged paintings since 1990. Most recently, she completed a four-year body of work titled Jazz: Edward Simon's "Venezuelan Suite" #1-23. Her own athletic pursuits come into play in her art, since her paintings are really about movement. Priest's favorite sports are "balance sports," such as skiing, where motion depends on weight and balance thrown off-center, often in response to terrain.
Priest has received two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Awards. Her first solo museum exhibition was presented by the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College in 2007.
Works Available for Purchase