Disturbing the Spirits
Trees are sanctuaries. If we listen closely, we can learn the ancient law of life. They are seen as powerful symbols of growth, decay and resurrection.
In this series I am using imagery to convey my “feelings” about the state of nature, the nature of trees, and how to express their connection to past, present and future. By obscuring a portion of the image through a veil, I strive to heighten the remaining reality through discovery and reflection. As human actions impact the natural environment, can artists heal nature? Does art bring “special powers” to the table? If so, what are they? What is ‘art’? What is ‘nature’? What
needs healing? What arrogance! Disturbing the Spirits deals with both reality and time (past/present/future) and my growing attachment to the healing powers of the natural environment. My life has taken a turn over the last four years. I returned to my place of birth in the US Midwest after leaving my home of 20 years. I left my California home with a range of emotions, from deep regret, loss and grief to longing and anticipation of what was to come; there is a new life brewing within. I have been searching for meaning in my new life and have taken solace in the nature of this region…. its ever-changing seasons bring about an awareness of the fleetingness of life. I have an obsession with disappearance, of revealing only bits of reality and obscuring
the rest through a veil of obscurity.
Place of Departure
(Disturbing the Spirits, part 2)
I was working on my series, “Disturbing The Spirits” when my parents suddenly died. Place of Departure is the work I have done since…..
I feel that my life has fundamentally changed; but sometimes all seems the same. Where did my father go? Are my parents now united? What does a life mean after it leaves it’s body? Does the life-force rise and connect the terrestrial with the celestial or does it evaporate into thin air? These are the questions I am grappling with as I begin my new series; I hope to find my way to an understanding. I now speak with clouds, the earth…with trees. Words fail me.
Mid + West
(A visual essay on adaptation and acceptance in relocation/immigration and migration)
Some say we are all immigrants but many indigenous people have lived in one location for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. In this series I am addressing the more recent acts of relocation. The place of one’s birth greatly influences who they are but through moving, new foods, cultures, languages and landscapes await to reshape their very being. Acceptance and rejection play a part in this. I was born in the Midwest, moved as a young adult to California, then back to the Midwest to help aging parents. After their passing, I headed west again, this time alighting in New Mexico. Even though I didn’t really encounter a great deal of differences in people there were subtle language differences, definitely food differences and some culture shifts that required adjustment on my part. The most profound change for me was the landscape. Here I am exploring how one’s landscape, whether rural, suburban or urban, can utterly reshape them and how through relocation they grow and flourish. They become, in essence, a blending of all former homelands with the present.

Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. Her early college years were spent obtaining a degree in graphic arts; later emphasizing fine art. Ellen spent two years at FIDM (the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in downtown Los Angeles. Here, she obtained her advanced degree in 1992.

After a few years working in the industry, including several years at Mattel Toy Company as a senior project designer, she became disillusioned with the corporate world and longed for a more creative outlet. Having been trained in computer design while at Mattel, Ellen continued her training on her own using mostly Photoshop software.

Ellen doesn’t consider herself a “photographer” but an image-maker, as she creates work that bridges the world of photography, prints and collage. As digital cameras began producing excellent resolution, she found her perfect medium. It was a true confluence of technical advancements and creative desire that culminated in her current explorations in photo-inspired art using both a camera to capture imagery and a computer to alter, combine and manipulate the pieces. Her work is best described as “photomontages”

Ellen’s work is shown and published internationally.

The National Museum Of Women In The Arts, New Mexico State Committee chose Ellen as their “Artist Spotlight” for the month of February 2020

First Place Winner – 14th Pollux Award (2019), for her series “Mid+West

Gold Winner In The Annual Tokyo International Foto Awards for her series, Coming Into Focus. Her work was exhibited at the ICA Gallery, Tokyo from May 12-16 2018.

She was awarded “Special Photographer of The Year” in the 2017 International Photography Awards.

She was one of 15 women photographers chosen to receive the Julia Margaret Cameron Award. This is quite a distinction in the photography world honoring women photographers. Along with the honor, Ellen participated in the Berlin Biennial that took place in October 2016.