Ellie Kammer was born in Adelaide in 1991 in Adelaide, Australia.
In 2012 she became acquainted with artist Robin Eley. Kammer went on to study oil painting under Eley and life drawing under American artist David Kassan through Eley’s artist workshop program, The Art Academy in Adelaide in 2013. After demonstrating passion and technical ability in the workshops, Robin Eley offered Kammer a mentorship where she was instructed in painting application, that would last for a year.
In 2016 Kammer enrolled in a mentorship program with David Kassan and Shana Levenson through the Art Crit Academy.
Kammer first came to appreciate the enormous impact one artwork can inflict upon its viewers when she was researching works by artist, Gottfried Helnwein. In particular, his installation ‘Selektion - Ninth November Night’ which featured large scale photographs of young children all in a line, as if they were waiting to be sorted like they were in concentration camps. Helnwein’s works had a profound impact on Kammer and upon discovering his raw depictions, she adopted the view that an artist has a responsibility to address and discuss issues within their works.
In 2015 Kammer was diagnosed with a chronic and incurable disease that she regularly requires surgical treatment for - Endometriosis. The disease’s impact on the artist is significant and the immune system component to the disease saw Ellie nearly lose her life to a blood infection in early 2017. Kammer was again diagnosed with a similar chronic pain condition, Adenomyosis, in early 2017 which can only be cured by removal of the uterus, forcing her to consider the difficult notion of sacrificing her fertility for an improved quality of life.
In 2016 Kammer’s frustration with Endometriosis took toll on her mental health. The condition is under-researched, rarely discussed and information on the disease is scarcely reliable. These factors make living with the chronic condition an isolating experience and Kammer found herself at a crossroads where she saw two options; give up on life and let the disease swallow her whole or utilise her artistic ability to relieve her of emotional chaos and educate people about the disease. Happily she chose the healthier option and she began to compose her own ‘Ninth November Night’.
Taking inspiration from the techniques of Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville, Kammer created a series of ten paintings during 2016 and 2017 and exhibited them in her first solo exhibition of paintings, which she titled ‘Nescience’ for the general ignorance that surrounds Endometriosis. The ‘Nescience’ series attracted widespread attention and discussion within national and international media and it saw Kammer take on the title of ‘Endo Champion’ through the non-profit group Endometriosis Australia. The title enables Kammer to access verified information on the disease and the latest updates in research, which empowers Kammer and shapes her work.
Kammer’s solo exhibitions include Poor Unfortunate Souls (2012) and Nescience (2017) in Adelaide, Australia.
Group exhibitions include Six Contemporary Painters (2016) at Floating Goose Studios in Adelaide, Loreto Spring Art Fair (2016, 2017) at Loreto College in Marryatville and The Finalists Exhibition (2017) at Juggler’s Art Space in Brisbane.
In 2016 Kammer was selected as one of three artists to take part in the Loreto Spring Art Fair tradition, the ‘Loreto Star Portrait’. The selected artists were asked to paint or illustrate a portrait of a famous personality. The personality chosen was Chester Osborn of D’arenberg Wines and Kammer’s portrait was acquired by the sitter.
Kammer was a finalist in the Emma Hack Art Prize (2017, 2018) and the Wyndham Art Prize (2018). Kammer was selected as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2016) and won the Myself Prize in 2017.
Kammer Currently lives in Adelaide where she practices art full time.