Ellie Irons

Breaking the (Phyto)Social Distance: Chapter 1, 4:13, 2020

Video-audio essays were created in 2020 to accompany the Lawn (Re)Disturbance Laboratory’s fall audio tour. Watch Chapter 2.

See also: my description posted on the Urban Soil Institute’s blog

Recent Writing

Recent Press

I am an interdisciplinary artist and educator living on 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 moved to Troy, NY to pursue my PhD in Arts Practice at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which I completed in December 2021, with a focus on public fieldwork, urban ecology, and socially engaged art. I am co-founder of the Environmental Performance Agency and the Next Epoch Seed Library. I work as a community science educator and lab manager at the Sanctuary for Independent Media‘s NATURE Lab, and as part time faculty at the New School. I am also a parent to two small people 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 instagram, and I also send out a newsletter very occasionally. You can check out the archive or sign up to get future updates.

Click here to view my C.V. (PDF).

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More Formal Biography (2023)

Ellie Irons is an artist and educator living and working on Mohican land in current-day Troy, New York, USA. From foraged watercolor paintings to un-lawning experiments, her work combines socially engaged art, ecology fieldwork, and embodied learning. She is a co-founder of the Next Epoch Seed Library and the Environmental Performance Agency, collaborations investigating relationships between humans and spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds). Her solo and collaborative work has been part of recent exhibitions on contemporary environmental art, including The Department of Human and Natural Services at NURTUREArt, Ecological Consciousness: Artist as Instigator at Wave Hill, and Unsettled Nature at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Her work has been covered by publications ranging from Art in America to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 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, focused on socially engaged environmental art. She is currently a community science educator and lab manager at the Sanctuary for Independent Media’s NATURE Lab, and an artist in residence with Toolshed’s Ecotopian Library.

You can reach me at ellie@ellieirons.com as well as other places on the web, including Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to join my mailing list. Archived newsletters are here.

Still from Breaking the (Phyto)Social Distance, Lawn Lab’s 2020 fall audio/video tour

My old blog is here (2011-2018)
Sadly TinyLetter got shut down, so no more archive or newsletter at the moment. If you want to be on my mailing list & newsletter if I get it going again, email me!

A Silphium integrifolium plant at Lawn Lab’s experimental lawn in North Central Troy