About Kira Elliot.jpg

“I knew I had to not wait for life to give me the opportunity to pursue my art.”


About Me

I am an artist working in the Detroit area from my home studio. When my son, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, was 4 years old, I realized that life gave me enough difficulties and hurdles I did not choose. I knew I had to not wait for life to give me the opportunity to pursue my art. So I made the most impractical decision I could as a single parent of a child with special needs, I went to art school instead of pursuing a degree in social work. It was the one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Despite many naysayers and doubters, I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Printmaking from Wayne State University in 2001. I have since continued my art practice, honing my skills and developing work in a variety of media that focuses on abstract paintings and drawings that explore my relationship and response to the natural world and the process of painting. I am currently working with a variety of media including cold wax, oil sticks, watercolors and pastels.

As the Iris Died・Art by Kira Elliot
Looking Into The Past・Art by Kira Elliot
Michigan Pine・Art by Kira Elliott

I create abstract art because it is a vehicle for me to record my whole experience, not just what I see with my eyes but also intangible aspects of my experience.

My abstract paintings concurrently contain my memories and present sense impressions. Most of my work is derived from landscapes in nature and also the landscape of the human body, inside and out. When I am in the studio I am aiming for something raw, true and meaningful, not only in the final outcome of a painting but in the process of painting in and of itself.

The marks I make communicate a place where I know I am not alone but I am alone. It’s this feeling I have when I am in nature, either deep in the woods in Michigan or the top of a mesa in the high desert of Arizona. When in nature, I feel completely connected and part of the earth and everything that came before me and yet also completely, utterly alone.

There is a raw knowing of this place where I exist and belong and at the same moment knowing I don’t really matter in the long timeline of history. It is this paradox, the place where those two things meet, that I am exploring in my work. I paint abstract textures, lines and marks because that is the only way to describe this place — these feelings of connectedness yet isolation.

Painting is about trust and deep listening, to myself and landscapes before me, so I can access this place and share it with others.

I have exhibited at various galleries in the Detroit area and won several awards and grants for my work. I also occasionally teach painting and creative writing workshops based on the Amherst Writers and Artists method.

When not working in the studio or hiking in the woods, I work at a non profit rebuilding neighborhoods in the Detroit area. 

Water Media Sketchbook | Kira Elliott Studio
Kira Elliott’s Studio Helper Neko
Kira Elliott in her Studio