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Meet the Artist Marcy Ellis

By Stacey Gregory
Marcy Ellis

Inside the house-turned-studio tucked away on a side street near 4th Avenue, your eye will surely catch the stunning portrait of a bare-chested woman. Defying gravity, she balances on a stool with her arms outstretched, embracing life, her mastectomy scars transformed into beautiful flowers. The body painting is by Tucson artist Marcy Ellis known for her delicate and feminine style and for celebrating the female form while empowering women to feel beautiful.

With a talent for art that started in childhood, Ellis pursued her passion at The University of Arizona, earning double degrees in studio art and art education to become an art teacher. She taught art at Prince Elementary, seeing upwards of 650 students spanning all grades every day.

“Teaching was a beautiful experience. My students were so gracious. I had a lot of refugee students and students from all over the world, and most of them didn’t get art at home,” said Ellis. “So their first experience in art was in my classroom, and it was the best, most rewarding job.”

All the while, Ellis was building her art business on the weekends inside a one-room studio. She started distributing her prints wholesale to shops all over the country and was pleasantly surprised to find people wanted her designs permanently on their bodies. 

“I was looking for different avenues to put my work in, and simultaneously, I had a lot of people reaching out to me for a tattoo in my art style,” said Ellis. “I started getting a lot of custom-

Marcy Ellis
Marcy Ellis
Marcy Ellis

commissioned tattoo pieces and began collaborating with some great tattoo artists. This has now evolved into a Tattoo Pass.” 

The Tattoo Pass allows the pass holder the use of one pre-existing design published by Ellis for the sole purpose of getting tattooed. The pass is available on her website, so when she started marketing it through social media, her art style was introduced to even more people nationwide. 

Ellis’ style is an extension of herself—delicate, feminine, and earthy. She aims to empower women and encourage a deeper connection with their bodies, the earth, and each other. She draws inspiration from flora, the natural world, and femme-empowerment, exploring the deep connection to the landscape and the beauty of growth to undermine established clichés of femininity. Her goal is to portray real bodies and explore the relationships between humans, plants, and spirits.

“I want to discover the connection to our bodies, to the earth, to each other. Like Mother Earth’s sisterhood, to reclaim our space,” said Ellis. “There’s so much artwork of women’s bodies drawn by men out there, and that’s not what we look like, you know? I want to draw real bodies, bodies women can identify with and relate to. I want to explore the connections between plants, our spirit in our body, and those kinds of relationships.”

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