Biography / Résumé



    William E. Elston was born on June 18, 1949 in Spirit Lake Idaho. He grew up in the rural area southeast of Spokane Washington called Glenrose Prairie. He attended high school in Spokane at the then newly built Joel E. Ferris High School. After leaving home at age 17 he traveled extensively, to San Francisco during the peak of the hippy era, then to Los Angeles, New York and Montreal, Quebec, where he finished high school studies at Baron Byng High School. He returned to the Pacific Northwest and studied painting at Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane, and at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Fort Wright.

    Mr. Elston then spent several years studying privately in New York and Boston. His first experiences with landscape painting and drawing were on a trip to Vancouver BC, Victoria BC and Seattle while he was still in high school. He continued painting landscape en plein air during his college years, and has made depicting the rural and urban landscape his principal area of interest. During those same years he developed a deep and abiding interest in the history of art, and especially in the social history of painting.

    Mr. Elston has taught at Fort Wright College, The Spokane Art School, The Academy for Realist Art (now The Gage Academy,) the Frye Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and has been a guest lecturer at Marymount Manhattan College in New York, Whitworth College in Spokane, Eastern Washington University in Cheney, the University of Washington in Seattle, and The Gage Academy. He continues to teach ongoing plein air classes and workshops in Seattle and surrounding areas. Mr. Elston was an original founding member of the Northwest Figurative Artists' Alliance, an organization that presented lectures and symposia on issues related to figurative art and Realism, sponsored ongoing roundtable discussions and periodic meetings amongst artists, published a bi-monthly journal of art criticism and review, networked with figurative artists worldwide and actively worked to promote the concerns of Realism and figuration. At its peak the organization had over 60 members. The Northwest Figurative Artists' Alliance has been recently revived with many of its original members, as well as a younger generation of figurative artists.

    William E. Elston's work has been widely collected in the United States and in Europe, and is included in many public, private and corporate collections. These include Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, McGraw Hill, American Express, Ashforth Pacific, Miller Nash LLP, Swedish Hospital in Seattle, University Hospital, Evergreen Hospital, Bill and Melinda Gates, the City of Seattle and the City of Portland.

    He founded Suzumebachi Design Services (formerly webXdesign) in 1993, which designs gallery, artist and art-related websites, advises artists and arts professionals on their Internet presence and other matters in the digitial information field.

    William Elston also trains regularly in Seido Juku Karate. He has yondan or fourth degree black belt ranking, promoting at Go-En: The 40th Anniversary of the World Seido Karate Organization, at SUNY Purchase, NY in 2016. He has participated in many tournaments, in New York and in Tokyo Japan. He is an instructor in Seido Karate for adult and youth classes at the Northshore YMCA in Bothell, WA. He is also the Seattle Seido Karate webmaster: Seattle Seido Karate


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    Born: June 18, 1949, Spirit Lake, Idaho

    Currently resides: The Pacific Northwest
    • Selected Exhibitions (scroll for additional)
      2017"Here, There and Everywhere," solo show, Dodson's Jewelry and Fine Art, November 2017, Spokane WA
      2017Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2017 Exhibition and Sale, August 4 - 27, Maryhill Museum, Goldendale WA
      2016Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2016 Exhibition and Sale, August 26 - 28, Maryhill Museum, Goldendale WA
      2016In This World: Paintings by William E. Elston and Ann Duffy, April 8 - May 15, i. e. gallery, Edison WA
      2015"My Old Haunts: Paintings By William Elston," Dodson's Jewelry and Fine Art, Sept. 25 - Oct. 31, Spokane WA
      2014Solo Exhibition, Fire On Main Gallery of Fine Art, June - July, Soap Lake, WA
      2013Ongoing exhibitions, Irimi Fine Art, Spokane, WA
      2012Group Exhibition, "Contemporary Works" (continuing from December 2011,) December/January, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Ongoing exhibitions, Irimi Fine Art, Spokane, WA
      2011Group Exhibition, "Contemporary Works", December/January, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Ongoing exhibitions, Irimi Fine Art, Spokane, WA
      Solo Exhibition, My Apartment Gallery, Yoville
      2010Group Exhibition, "Small Works", December, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Fragments From a Larger Narrative, August, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Celebrating Realism, group show, June, Museo Gallery, Langley, WA
      2009June Group Show, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Works On Paper, Borealis Art, Tucson, AZ
      2008American Embassy in Moldova, Selected Work, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova (work on extended loan to Art In Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State) link to American Embassy in Moldova. Although the pdf catalogue for this exhibition is no longer online at the Embassy, you can download or view a copy here.
      Century 21: Dealers' Choice, The Wright Space, Seattle, WA
      Solo Exhibition – "Town & Country", Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Group Exhibitions, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      2007Group Exhibitions, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      2006Group Exhibitions, Woodside Braseth Gallery, Seattle, WA
      2005Group Exhibitions, Woodside Braseth Gallery, Seattle, WA
      2004Elizabeth Leach Gallery Pearl District Grand Opening, Portland, OR
      2004Group Exhibitions, Woodside Braseth Gallery, Seattle, WA
      2003Group Exhibitions, Woodside Braseth Gallery, Seattle, WA
      2002Water's Edge, Maryhill Museum, Goldendale, WA
      2002Group Exhibitions, Woodside/Braseth Gallery, Seattle, WA
      2001Group Exhibitions, Woodside/Braseth Gallery, Seattle, WA
      2000Group Show, "The Male Figure", Martin/Zambito Gallery, Seattle, WA
      1999Solo Exhibition, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      Solo Exhibition, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR
      1998Solo Exhibition, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      1997Solo Exhibition, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
      199615th Anniversary Exhibition, Elizabeth Leach Gallery,Portland, OR
      Group Exhibition, El Waco Museum, El Waco, WA
      1995100 Years of Northwest Painting, Bellevue Art Museum
      Recent Paintings, Davidson Galleries, Seattle
      1994Landscape Exhibition, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
      1993Solo Exhibition, Davidson Galleries, Seattle
      1992Camera to Canvas, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue
      1991Solo Exhibition, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
      1990Solo Exhibition, Davidson Galleries, Seattle
      1990-91Barcelona Artists' Exchange Exhibition, Artist Equity Washington Chapter, Seattle, Vancouver, and Barcelona, Spain
      1989Seattle – Tashkent Print Exchange Exhibition, Stone Press Gallery, Seattle and Tashkent, Uzbekistan
      Solo Exhibition, Davidson Galleries' Seattle
      1988Contemporary Northwest Landscape, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
      Contemporary Landscape, Litchfield Library, Litchfield CT
      1985The Figure in the Landscape, Artists' Choice Museum, curated by Jack Beal and Judd Tully, New York
      A Sense of Place, Pentagram Corp. w/ Metropolitan Life, Bank of California Center, Seattle
      1983Northwest Juried Annual, Cheney Cowles Museum
      1982Boston Painters, Parkman House Mayoral Residence, Boston
      1981Eight from Fenway Studios, Tichnor Library at Harvard
      1979Artists and Friends, First Street Gallery, New York
    • Publications
      2015 From The Studio: Painter William Elston, interview by Verne Windham, Morning Classical, Spokane Public Radio, September 24, 2015.
      2002Representing Washington, by Gussie Fauntleroy, Southwest Art Magazine, November 2002, Houston.
      2001Artists Express, SCCTV Cable Channel, Interview by Billy King, produced and directed by Scott Morrison, archived on the SCCTV website: SCCTV Artists Express, requires Windows Media Player.
      2001The Pacific Northwest Landscape: A Pictorial History, edited by Kitty Harmon, with an introduction by Jonathan Raban, Susquatch Books, Seattle.
      1999Review, Elizabeth Leach Exhibition, Southwest Art Magazine, Houston.
      1994studio view – seattle, by Bruce Barcott, THE NEW ART EXAMINER, January issue, Chicago.
      1995The Captured City, by Tom McTaggart, Seattle Weekly, Seattle.
      Images So Real…, by Robin Updike, Seattle Times, Seattle.
      1993William Elston: Aesthetics Of Subversion, by Elizabeth Bryant, Reflex Magazine, Seattle.
      1992Mechanical Reproduction: Camera To Canvas At The Bellevue Art Museum, reviewed by David Berger, Reflex Magazine, Seattle
      1991Elston's Work Portrays…, by Suzanne Gladych Pate, The Spokesman Review, Spokane.
    • Consulting and Related Work
      2009-PresentFounder / owner, Suzumebachi Design Services, Seattle
      1993-PresentFounding member, Northwest Figurative Artists' Alliance
      1993-2008Owner webxdesign, consulting and design for arts related websites, Seattle
      1990-95Writer for REFLEX, a Northwest art journal, Seattle
      1986-88Editor and writer for Northwest Artpaper Illustrated, Seattle
      1985-86Writer for Vision Magazine, a Journal for the Visual Arts, Seattle
      1984-85Consultant, Cheney Cowles Museum (now the Museum of Northwest Art and Culture,) Docent Program, Spokane
      1985Member of Board of Directors, Spokane Art School
      1982-85Chairperson of Program Committee, Touchstone Center for the Visual Arts, Spokane
    • Teaching
      1995-PresentPrivate instruction
      2007-2008Occasional lectures, Gage Academy, Seattle, WA
      2001The Frye Art Museum
      1995Instructor, Venetian Painting Techniques, Seattle Art Museum (in conjunction with the exhibition "Treasures of Venice: Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest")
      Guest lecturer, Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane WA
      1994-96Instructor of painting and drawing, Academy of Realist Art (Now Gage Academy)
      1994Guest lecturer, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
      1983Guest lecturer Whitworth College, Spokane, Eastern Washington University.
      1982-85Instructor, Spokane Art School, Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane
      1979Guest lecturer, Marymount Manhattan College, New York
      1973-75Instructor of painting, drawing and design, Fort Wright College of the Holy Names, Spokane
    • Education
      1978-82Additional private study in New York and Boston
      1969-75Fort Wright College of the Holy Names, Spokane
      1971California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland
      Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fort Wright College, 1975

      Additional informal study in fine art lithography, at The Evergreen State College, 1975 - 76
      Extensive reading in the fields of art history, cultural studies, fine art conservation, Japanese printmaking and other subjects.

      Over the past decade I've become deeply interested in Japanese and Asian culture. I've studied Japanese language, traveled to Japan, and become involved, with my martial arts group (the Seattle Branch of the World Seido Karate Organization,) in the regional Japanese community. I've become especially interested in the history of Japanese film, and have viewed over 500 films, both classic and contemporary. This interest has had a profound influence on my work, especially the Japanese printmakers of the shin hanga, the ukiyo-e revival of the first half of the Twentieth Century.
    • Selected Collections and Commissions (scroll for additional)
      Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, gift of Lee and Jody Sahlin
      Mr. & Mrs. Allen Hoover, Spokane, WA
      Hon. Tari S. Eitzen, Spokane, WA
      Ray Johnson, Seattle, WA
      Steven and Theresa Helmbrecht, Spokane, WA
      Mr. & Mrs. Erik Heipt, Seattle, WA
      Mr. & Mrs. Kirby McDonald, Bellevue, WA
      Mr. John Goodfellow, Seattle, WA
      Mr. Matt O'Meara / Ms. Lisa Belden, Mercer Island, WA
      Mr. Jeff Smyth, Seattle, WA
      David Martin / Dominic Zambito, Seattle, WA
      Mr. Tom McQuaid, Seattle, WA
      Mr. Wm. Dubin, Tucson, AZ
      Mr. & Mrs. James Steiwer
      Mr. & Mrs. James Baum, New York, NY
      Mr. & Mrs. William Gates
      Ms. M. Daly, Fairfield, CT
      Mr. Patrick Duffy, Los Angeles, CA
      Ms. Lois Foraker, Los Angeles, CA
      Mr. & Mrs. Neal Fosseen, Spokane, WA
      Ms. Judy Grollmus, Spokane, WA
      Mrs. Bernard Kopcynski, Spokane, WA
      Mr & Mrs Michael Moore, Spokane, WA
      Mr. & Mrs. Lee Sahlin, Spokane, WA
      Mr & Mrs Donald Thulean, Wash. DC, (presented by The Spokane Symphony Society)
      Seattle Collects 2000, City of Seattle, WA
      The City of Portland, OR
      Art in Public Places, Washington State Arts Commission
      Miller Nash LLP, Portland , OR
      Evergreen Hospital, Kirkland, WA
      The Seattle Tennis Club, Seattle, WA
      McGraw Hill, Inc., New York, NY
      Microsoft, Redmond, WA
      Hewlett - Packard, Vancouver, WA
      American Express, Seattle, WA
      Chicago Title Insurance Co., Seattle, WA
      Washington Trust Bank, Spokane, WA
      Swedish Hospital, Seattle, WA
      University Hospital, Seattle, WA
      Ashforth Pacific Inc., Portland, WA
      Seattle University Law School, Seattle, WA
      Frank Russell Inc., Tacoma, WA

William E. Elston

aritst/owner: w. e. elston fine arts
William E. Elston is a professional artist and teacher living in the Pacific Northwest. He has exhibited for over 40 years, and has works in numerous public and private collections.




William E. Elston

aritst/owner: w. e. elston fine arts
William E. Elston is a professional artist and teacher living in the Pacific Northwest. He has exhibited for over 40 years, and has works in numerous public and private collections.
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