Josiah Ellner is a Milwaukee-based artist who earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2019. Ellner was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but grew up in Xi’an, China and later came back to Milwaukee to attend UWM. Due to spending his whole life living in cities, he has always felt alienated from the natural world. Despite these feelings of alienation, he has found himself strangely drawn to natural elements that are encountered in daily urban living. This has inspired him to create work that represents the estrangement of humanity from nature. Through using a mixture of oils and acrylics, he paints figures in urban environments and inserts natural elements.
The natural world has changed drastically since the onset of the digital age. With this change, the natural world as we know it has begun to fade and become background noise to new technology. Despite this, we as humans are still drawn to the natural world and tend to hold onto natural elements in our daily lives, whether that be consciously or subconsciously. My work tackles the growing complicated relationship that people of the digital age have with the natural world. My paintings evoke one to further contemplate their personal relationship with the natural world.