Originally Published February 3rd, 2017
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas
To say my friend Elisa is passionate about art would be an understatement. She is obsessed with art; literally consumed by it. As we stand together in her neatly arranged storefront, countless art pieces line the walls, calling out for attention. Shelves are heaped with colorful sculptures and other oddities. Drawers are laced with loose prints. Books and trinkets decorate the vast countertops that ramble through “The Wilson Gallery”.
“Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso
I could spend hours eyeing the eclectic showcase, a universe of colors, textures, patterns, and shapes. They stare back as you attempt to methodically decipher every brush stroke, every pen dot, every knife cut-witnessing the painstaking labors of endless artists. Their stories and their works are perfectly matted, framed, and displayed for all to see. But if somehow you run out of items to peruse-no worries. Elisa would be happy to go online and show you the newest artist who has captivated her attention. She is always searching, always yearning for new pieces to add to her collection.
Elisa’s craft is the matting and framing of artwork. Along with preserving each piece, she has the unique ability to arrange and exhibit works of art that only intensify their beauty. Effectively putting the cherry on top of the cake. She does this with a patience and forethought that seems foreign in today’s culture. The daughter of an American electronic engineer and an Italian war bride, Elisa spent her formative years overseas. She grew up in Saudi Arabia, then later attended high school in Italy before eventually settling in Indiana.
“To be an artists is to believe in life.” -Henry Moore
She opened “Picture this in Print” in 1996 after managing another frame shop for nearly 8 years. Among the antique stores, bars, eateries, and small businesses that line the historical downtown Kendallville, Elisa’s shop stands alone as one of the most unique places to visit.
“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop.” -Jack Kerouac
Elisa loves life. Her positive spirit is contagious. Whenever I leave her shop I’m always uplifted. We’ve spent hours talking about life, music, holistic healing practices, the universe, the list goes on. She never runs out of reasons to be excited. Her adulation for artists and the work they create is equally never ending. During our shoot we talked of a trip she would soon take to Amsterdam-transporting and obtaining art. She adores this crazy world and the people who shower it with color.
I asked her what advice she would give to her 30 year old self and her reply was a quote from a close friend:
“All wealth advisors say to spend for experience, not stuff.”
An early 20th century melody performs on the stereo. Beautifully strange sculptures mock us as we frame another pose. A young ghoulish version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice sits with White Rabbit among red flowers. The crow, symbol of the Wilson Gallery, proudly perched. She pauses before the shutter clicks and smiles, “I’m so proud of you.” There she goes again, the always applauding, always encouraging Elisa.
“I believe that everyone is handed the same thing..a lifetime..how you choose to live it makes the difference.” -Elisa Ellsworth
Camera Notes: All images were captured using one light source [60 inch convertible umbrella using a LumoPo LP180 Manual Flash] and one camera [Fujifilm x100T 35mm equivalent lens]