Ellery Mann (@ell_4) is a highly talented artist, designer and Mextures user whose work is both imaginative and polished. Each of his pieces seem to evoke wonder and curiosity in the eyes of the viewer while always hinting at some greater theme. We were finally able to catch up with Ellery to put together this long overdue Mextures Short featuring his design work and heaps of information about him and his creative process. Read along!
I’m Ellery Mann, an artist and designer living in Bushwick, Brooklyn of New York City. I’ve been in Bushwick for about 2 years now, it’s an amazing hub for creatives as every block is filled with graffiti, street art, galleries, and restaurants. My weeks here are filled with creating as much as I possibly can, practicing yoga and meditation, hunting for inspiration and talent, and of course hanging with friends at local bars and backyard bashes.
Recently, I pivoted most of my focus towards the launch of my creative studio, From Space. We create art and design inspired by curiosity, wonder, and awe for clients within the creative industry. We really enjoy working with those who think differently and push the boundaries of imagination through their creative passions.
Art, design, and the cosmos have always been a part of my life and I can thank my family for inspiring me in that aspect. I come from a family of creatives and my father used to always take me out with the telescope as a kid to catch meteor showers at the beach. The first thing I designed as a kid was a UFO club membership card that I started with the kids on the block. Since then, I’ve attended art school, studied graphic design, communications, and user experience design. I’ve been lucky to put all that work into practice at a few design studios and a bunch of freelance gigs.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO DESIGN
I first got into design when I was attending college, I signed up for it without even truly understanding what it was. I was studying fine art at first but then I got into building computers, gaming, and messing around in photoshop when I realized I can make things on the computer that I couldn’t with paint, so I thought studying design was the next step. I then quickly realized design is much more than just making cool shit. It’s about understanding people, solving problems, applying strategies, and then making the cool shit.
WHAT ARE THE APPS/SOFTWARE YOU USE THE MOST?
On desktop, most of the apps I use are from Adobe Creative Cloud. My digital compositions are made with photoshop and occasionally cinema 4d. I also use Illustrator for building out brand assets and logos, and InDesign for putting together publications and decks. For web design I use Sketch, and Invision for prototyping. Most of my photography is done with my iPhone. When it comes to post processing on mobile, there are a few mobile apps that have stayed consistent and mextures has always been my main squeeze
WHAT ADVICE OR EXPERIENCE HAS LED YOU TO PROGRESS THE MOST IN YOUR WORK AND STYLE?
Some of the best advice I’ve learned is to be present. I try to practice this as often as I can. As creatives we can easily get wrapped up in what we want to be doing, where we think we should be, what others are doing, and we tend to measure ourselves against other creatives. Lose your ego, do your own thing, and acknowledge who you are today.
WHAT MAKES A PIECE MEMORABLE TO YOU?
A piece becomes memorable when I put a lot of work into it. This doesn’t necessarily mean hours, but when I’m able to surface the idea behind the piece through the composition. My most memorable pieces are those that tell stories, while allowing room for interpretation through the viewer's eyes. I try to take people on a journey where they may question reality, feel small in the expansive universe, or possibly feel connected with nature and life. I recently released a series called Cosmic Consciousness where I feature people connecting with the universe while looking out at the stars. This visualizes the connection when we experience the universe looking back at itself, here and now in this eternal moment. I’m not sure if this always gets through to my viewers, but this is the foundation I build my art upon. As long as if a piece resonates with someone and possibly inspires them, then I feel as if my work is doing what it should be.
HOW DO YOU USE MEXTURES TO ACHIEVE THE MOOD YOU WORK TO CREATE IN YOUR IMAGES?
Mextures has been a part of my workflow from the early pilot days. I remember Merek releasing the high res textures for use in Photoshop on his site a few years back, around the same time I got serious about my digital compositions. The textures really helped bring out moods and emotions through color gradients and gritty texture overlays. Now that Mextures is on my iPhone, I tend to pass all my pieces through it before posting to Instagram. Its usability is flawless and really makes post processing a lot of fun. Even if I know my coloring isn’t 100% where I want it to be in Photoshop, I know I can get it there in Mextures.
Mextures has a huge library of overlays to choose from which can easily adapt to any piece or photo you are working with. I tend to use it a bit more subtly, maybe 2-3 color gradient overlays, usually from the Landscape Enhance or the Radiance library, a bit of grit and grain, and the rest of the processing relates to tones, brightness, contrast, and fading. My favorite feature of the Mextures app is the ability to save formulas, it’s quite often that I’m able to reuse these formulas to bring out a similar mood in another image.
IF YOU WERE GIVING ADVICE ON HOW TO ACCOMPLISH WORK SIMILAR TO YOURS, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU’D FIND MOST CRUCIAL TO SHARE?
I believe the coloring of an image brings out the emotional response just as sound to video does. When making digital compositions, I’m usually pulling images from various sources and it is often that the original coloring will not match its surrounding elements. When working in Photoshop, I find it works best to add color adjustments to each layer and tweak those adjustments so the layers relate to each other. Once I get all the elements in the composition to work as a unified piece, I then add color overlays and textures the the whole piece, which brings it all together. It’s a bit of trial and error and a lot of fun. Post processing is probably my favorite part and Mextures makes it super easy on desktop and mobile
WHY IS CREATING IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Creating brings things to life! I think it’s the most important part of our development. But when it comes to my art, the act of creating is probably my favorite part of the process. It’s the meditative flow state, the continuous learning, and those aha moments. It’s all about that feel good. Creating brings out all the crazy ideas and visuals from my mind into the world. When I’m able to share my art, I hope to make an impact in one way or another, creating a ripple effect, inspiring people to think differently and motivating them to do what they love most.
COULD YOU SHARE A FEW OF THE MOST INSPIRING ACCOUNTS YOU FOLLOW?
The most inspiring accounts I follow are:
@baugasm for those neon colors and abstract shapes.
@beeple_crap for his 10 years of everydays. Seriously though, that’s some dedication.
@felipepantone for creating analog technicolor glitched out paintings that truly look digital.
@greyscalegorilla for sharing knowledge in 3D design.
@nasa for keeping us up to date with all things space.
@neilkrug for those vintage lush vibes.
@oliverhibert for the funk. Love the hippy trippy groove.
@rime_msk for his funky graffiti. This dude is always innovating.
@seanwes for inspiring entrepreneurship and those hand lettering skills.
@signalnoise for those retro sci-fi styles, keeping the old school fresh.
See more of Ellery’s work here!