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Ellison inspired by outdoor experiences in Chattanooga

Brainerd resident Celeste Ellison draws on inspiration from Chattanooga’s outdoor scene to create vibrant paintings.

“Ever since I was in school I always had a niche for drawing,” said the young artist. “I’ve always known I wanted to do art.”

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Local artist Celeste Ellison sits next to one of her mixed-medium pieces. She said she strives to be truthful with her artwork while infusing her own personality in it as well.

After growing up in southern Alabama, Ellison took a detour from art into theater, but came back to it later in college through a graphic design major. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and moved to Chattanooga, a place she calls perfect for all of her loves, from kayaking to painting to designing. She often pulls her love of the outdoors into her paintings, and said she has always been fascinated with the water.

“I’ve always had this thing about the water,” said Ellison. “I love water; I like being around water; I like staring at water. Call me an internal mermaid if you want. It’s its own force of nature and I respect it.”

After a rafting trip down the Ocoee River a couple of years ago, Ellison spotted some kayakers gliding with the current. Immediately attracted to the sport, she headed to Rock/Creek Outfitters to find out more, eventually taking lessons and getting out on the water herself, saying she feels free when it’s just her and her kayak.

“The only drama I’m feeling [when I’m on the water] is ‘Oh crap, I need to get through this rapid,’” she said. “It’s your time; you’re in your element.”

The great outdoors are not the only thing from which Ellison draws inspiration. She said she also enjoys painting spunky, humorous cartoons based on jokes between her and her friends, including a robot playing cornhole and a cat sitting in a kayak. She is currently working on recreating some of her favorite Chattanooga cityscapes in her newest paintings.

“I try to be truthful and show myself in my paintings,” said Ellison. “I just do it because I love to do it.”

Her work can be found at Four Bridges Outfitters, located downtown at 315 N. Market St. Ellison said she tries to keep her artwork affordable for her customers.

“I want everybody to get art in their house,” she said. “I don’t want to hold them back from that.”

Ellison said she would prefer customers to buy from Four Bridges Outfitters in order to benefit the business, but if someone wants to contact her directly or commission a piece, they can email her at celesteaellison@gmail.com or celesteaellison@yahoo.com.

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