Ellis started oil painting when he was ten years old. After school he trained for three years as a graphic designer and then as a painter. At this point he was bitten by the theatre bug and he realised that the artist could become the moving picture or sculpture. So he he studied drama at university and then in Paris at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq where mime, movement and mask work is emphasised.
For the next 35 years Ellis was part of theatre companies and small groups devising a visual, image-based style of theatre. He has performed all over the world.
All this time his love for painting never faded. Over the years he evolved a very energetic, gestural way of painting. He has shown his work in galleries and at art festivals.
Nine years ago Ellis and his family moved from South Africa to Perth, discovering one of the world's best kept secrets - Darlington. He was delighted to find that Robert Juniper - whose work he had always admired - lived up the road. Meeting Robert and watching him work in his stunning studio, has been a stand out moment for Ellis.
Ellis teaches theatre at Waapa and at The Actors Hub and Curtin University. This gives him time to pursue his painting. His garden studio, surrounded by noisy cockatoos, kookaburras, peeping bandicoots, falling leaves, massive leaping trees, incredible autumn colours, startling pond reflections and the constant background sounds of insects, frogs and birds provides Ellis with plenty of material to fill his large canvases.