Elliott with his most recent oil painting.
Eric Elliott, assistant professor of art, with his most recent still life oil painting.


Fine Arts is the perfect fit

Eric Elliott’s journey to the fine arts is similar to Goldilocks' story. He tried a few different art forms until he found the fine arts which were 'just right.'

Long before becoming an assistant professor of art at CMU, as a kid, he enjoyed drawing comics but quickly realized he did not want to draw the same figures day after day. Then he dabbled with graphic design projects but Elliott learned he wanted to share his own voice instead of communicating someone else’s message.

Elliott found his ‘just right’ when he began taking painting classes at a community college in Arizona. It was here Elliott said he fell in love with painting.

“I probably took enough art classes at the community college to have gotten a bachelor’s degree just because it was fun taking them,” Elliott said.

He recalled how much he enjoyed learning from his teachers and thinking, “I would be happy doing what they do … basically getting to draw and paint for the rest of your life, that sounds pretty amazing.”

Elliott pursued the education necessary to teach painting at a collegiate level. After earning his master’s degree in painting and drawing, Elliott said, “I felt like all the paintings were starting to feel the same and I wanted to break out and change.”

As a result, Elliott created his own type of artistic residency program by attending the Jerusalem Studio School in 2014.

“The instructor in Israel had a very unique way of talking about seeing the world, perceiving the world and then how to paint that,” Elliott said.

He now uses what he learned in Israel to teach his own students here at CMU.

Elliott teaches foundational art to thesis-level courses. His hope is, from start to finish, his students learn how to express themselves visually and push themselves to create better and better art.

“They come in not knowing what to do and, by the end, they are pretty confident. They have their own work and their own style, so it’s really exciting to see them come into their own.”

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