I am an interdisciplinary artist and educator living on Lenape land in current-day Brooklyn and Mohican land in current-day Troy, New York. I work in a variety of media, from walks to WIFI to gardening, to explore how human and nonhuman lives intertwine with other earth systems.
Born in rural Northern California, I went to Scripps College in Los Angeles, where I studied art and environmental science. After falling in love with biology field work, I began combining ecology with art. I relocated to New York City in 2005, and completed my MFA at Hunter College in the fall of 2009. I completed my PhD in Arts Practice at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in December 2021, focusing on Public Fieldwork, urban ecology, and socially engaged art. I am on the advisory board for NATURELab at the Sanctuary for Independent Media, and a co-founder of the Environmental Performance Agency and the Next Epoch Seed Library. I am also a parent to a toddler in partnership with this fabulous human, who also built this website (our feline companion helps when he feels like it). Elsewhere on the internet, I post on twitter & instagram, and I also send out a newsletter several times per year. You can check out the archive or sign up to get future updates.
Click here to view my C.V. (PDF).
Formal Biography (December 2021)
Ellie Irons is an artist and educator living and working on Mohican land in current-day Troy, New York, USA. Working across media—from watercolor paintings to un-lawning experiments— she combines socially engaged art, ecology fieldwork, and embodied learning, contributing to a field she describes as critical ecosocial art. Recent work involves collaborations focused on spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds), including co-founding the Next Epoch Seed Library and the Environmental Performance Agency. Irons received a BA from Scripps College in Los Angeles and an MFA from Hunter College in New York. In December 2021, She completed a PhD in arts practice at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, focusing on how critical ecosocial art contributes to the struggle for multispecies solidarity and ecosocial justice in an age of extraction and climate chaos. Her solo and collaborative projects have been part of recent exhibitions on environmental art and activism, like The Department of Human and Natural Services at NURTUREArt and Ecological Consciousness: Artist as Instigator at Wave Hill. Her work has been covered by publications ranging from Art in America to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and her writing has been published in venues ranging from Drain Magazine to Media + Environment. She is a 2015 NYFA Fellow, a 2017 Asian Cultural Council Fellow, a 2019 Eliza Moore Fellow, and a 2019 Seed Box Artist in Residence.