EllaWalker,TheCooktheTheifHisWife&HerLover,2018,detail3,Richard Ivey Photography
© Ella Walker, All Rights Reserved, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, 2018, detail, Richard Ivey Photography

“I am in constant dialogue with my work and sometimes fall into the trap of doubting each decision I make – am I making a new mark here?”


Ella Walker


Visual Artist



© Ella Walker

Who are you? What do you do?

I’m a painter. I make large scale figurative paintings. I also paint murals.

Where are you from?

I was born in Manchester and studied painting at Glasgow School of Art. I stayed in Glasgow for a while afterwards, but I’ve recently moved to London and work from my studio in Hackney.

Your style in 3 words?

Medieval, Fashionista, Otherworldly

EllaWalker,Double portrait with flooded house,detail2,2018,RichardIveyPhotographyjpg
© Ella Walker, Double portrait with flooded house, detail, 2018, Richard Ivey Photography

Your weakness? Your strength?

I am in constant dialogue with my work and sometimes fall into the trap of doubting each decision I make – am I making a new mark here? Are the marks alive? Is this repetitive or just consistent? There is a preciousness, I try not to be distracted. I find strength in the drawing element of my practice. There is always truth in drawing and in my larger works, underdrawing provides an intricate ground that structures the play of form and figures.

What makes you different?

Being an artist is about sharing and contributing in some way to the wealth of visual culture that already exists. I’m not looking to be different, I’m looking to absorb and be inspired by what London has to offer in all its creative forms. I reference Medieval art, theatre, dress and ritual in my work – basically all the fantastical elements of this time. I also love contemporary fashion subcultures, hysterical trends and costume. I use social platforms such as Instagram to search, get inspiration and share in new imagery.

When did you decide to become an artist?

I did a lot of drawing and painting when I was young. I was really into Manga when I was a teenager and got a bit obsessed drawing and adopting that style. Maybe that obsession was what lead me to become an artist. I’m very curious about things and I like to observe and draw.

What do you find most fascinating about your work?

I think the most fascinating thing about my process is realising a character or an outfit. The potential in images is so exciting because I always have another character in my head that I need to realise through a picture. My figures are curious, and the costumes and settings are kind of bizarre. I’ll see some red stockings and then paint a face to match. Sometimes I work from a photograph that I like, or that I’ve found online. I tend to work a lot from reproductions and keep an archive of these in my studio, so I can reference them regularly. The potential in an image is what fascinates me most.

EllaWalker,The Eyes of Santa Maria in Rome,2019,TheArtist(allrightsreserved)
© Ella Walker, The Eyes of Santa Maria in Rome, 2019, The Artist (all rights reserved)

A few words about your favourite creation?

My recent painting The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover after Peter Greenaway’s film (1989) is probably my favourite work at the moment. It feels like a new point of reference in my painting. I had already started the painting before I saw the film, but the experience totally changed the course of the picture. It’s a beautiful, layered carnivalesque film. Jean Paul Gaultier designed for the film so the set and costumes are great. I’m intrigued by fashion and particularly Gaultier’s 1989 and 1994 collections are very inspiring.

Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…

I recently saw Naudline Pierre’s work in a group show – I think her painting is so beautiful. Sanya Kantarovsky paintings as well – particularly the ones that tell the story Master in Margherita – in show I loved called Apricot Juice at Studio Voltaire.

EllaWalker,StudyforMusic,2018,Richard Ivey Photography
© Ella Walker, Study for Music, 2018, Richard Ivey Photography

A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?

I’m developing a painting for a friend’s cassette at the moment and I’m really excited about it. The piece written by Max Syed Tollan is ‘Planctae’– a cycle of eleven short movements for woodwind ensemble each staging a line from The Divine Comedy.

Finish the sentence More important than my career is…“

Being inspired and loved.

2019: Where are we going?

I want to travel to Japan to watch Noh Theatre.

When the going gets tough…


EllaWalker, View from the studio at BorgoPignano, 2019,TheArtist(allrightsreserved)
© Ella Walker, View from the studio at Borgo Pignano, 2019,The Artist (all rights reserved)

Your city’s favourite spots?

I really like going to the Barbican Lakeside Terrace. You can sit by the water and have a drink. It’s nice and relaxing in the evenings there.

Do you have a vision?

Yes, I have a vision, one which I hope can expand from the paintings and become something else. I would love to make a set and props for a play or performance!

What would you do if you could change the World?

Something with the environment – ban unnecessary plastic.

Ella Walker,Human Monster with bells, after Conrad von Megenberg, 2018TheArtist(allrightsreserved)
© Ella Walker, Human Monster with bells, after Conrad von Megenberg, 2018 TheArtist (all rights reserved)

Tell us about your future plans…

I will be painting in the future for sure. Aside from that, I would love to make a set for a play or fashion shoot – something immersive and performative. To collaborate with my friend Holly Mills on this would be a dream. I would love to become skilled in prop making and costume design.

Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?

Currently Solange, Binz (Official Video)

Follow Ella on Instagram