Updated: Mar 4, 2022
Amari Rowe | The Daily News | Feb 2, 2022
Ted Ellis was first introduced to me through his artwork at The Juneteenth Legacy Project Gallery. You could see the life within each frame. Before meeting him, I could tell he would be a very interesting man, full of energy and conviction. His art moves hectically and you can see the time and dedication in each piece. But meeting him in person, he’s more than I could’ve ever imagined.
Along with being a kind, well-spoken man, he was quite attentive and asked alluring questions. I could tell from our conversation that he expects greatness from me, but his being is so effortless that these expectations are also mine. I want to live up to the greatness Ellis has seen in me. While talking we shared a few topics, such as home life and the dynamics of a suitable career in the art field. He loves his family very much and we talked about how he struggled to make time balancing his career and personal life. He gave me so much advice not just as an artist, but as an individual; he has a depth that’s beyond realism.
I’d like to say he has an unworldly outlook on life, very much like mine, oddly enough. Meeting Ted Ellis has definitely reaffirmed my love for not just art but for the simplicity of living. I was completely unaware of whom he was upon entering the gallery where I work as a memory keeper. Ellis came in as if any other patron; asked my name and asked me a few things about the paintings. Unaware that he was the one who had painted most of them, I followed suit and gave him a tour. He had been very knowledgeable on the history behind the work and reiterated his impression that I had committed to learning all the pieces. Sam Collins III, another volunteer at the gallery, had come in a few minutes after, speaking to our patron like an old friend. It wasn’t until then I was truly aware that the man before me was the one and only Ted Ellis.
I spend most of my time in the gallery surrounded by his work. It has made a lasting impression on me. I’ve grown to love the art as though I had made it myself. So, seeing the creator of my daily surroundings brought me to tears. Not only was he an unmatchable creative, he was a man of great esteem. We agreed on many things, but most of all we agreed that a painting is only made up of the history behind it, and being able to share not just verbally but visually is the greatest gift we have been given. A gift that is just cruel to keep hidden.
Please come visit The Nia Cultural Center Juneteenth Legacy Headquarters and art gallery, which is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays in downtown Galveston. Not for me, but for the sake of the past, our present and the children’s future.