#WCW - Melbourne Designer Ellen Porteus

Melbourne based artist Ellen Porteus is no stranger to hard work.

Between creating awesome artwork including illustration, animation and installations, working with the likes of the New York Times and Apple, and creating solo shows, this week’s #womancrushwednesday is certainly one to watch.

We sat down with her to hear a little bit about what she loves about Melbourne, what it takes to build a personal brand and what’s next in store for this kick-ass artist.

What inspired you to become an illustrator?

I studied graphic design, but I really loved the conceptual, artistic and fun side of illustration. I've always been creative, but with illustration, I felt I could express myself and be clever and funny, in a way I couldn't in design or using words or any other creative medium. This really drove me to pursue it stubbornly, and luckily that paid off!

What is something about you that people are surprised by when they meet you?

I was once on Millionaire Hot Seat (no, I didn't win!) 

You’ve worked with some huge brands, what has been the highlight of your career so far?

Honestly, it wasn't anything for a big brand- it was pulling off my first solo show, which was a huge physical and emotional undertaking, but I was so proud of what I put together and all the work I did to pull it off. Seeing people show up to the gallery and enjoy my work in real life was a bizarre but really gratifying experience!

Have you had any ‘pinch me’ moments?

Yes, all the time! Most recently though, I got to do a collaboration with Facebook with my good friend and amazing photographer Giulia McGauran. That was huge!

What’s been the most challenging part of working for yourself and building your own brand?

Psychologically, it's really hard! Imposter syndrome is my biggest enemy at the moment. It can be hard to shake feelings of self-doubt.

How did you deal with that?

When you're your own boss, you've got to be your own cheerleader too! And I surround myself with people who are both supportive and honest. 

What are your top 3 ultimate Melbourne recommendations? (to eat, drink, or play!)

South Melbourne Market: Love this market. It has great seafood and great cannoli!
The Mill: I'm hanging out at this local Collingwood brewery way more often than I should be.
Congress: Really good wine, really good food!

What would be your advice for young women wanting to follow their passion?

Be unapologetically true to yourself. Be weird, be crazy if that's who you are! And don't judge your success based on others.

What's the key to work/life balance when you’re self-employed?

Work on having really good and healthy relationships, exercise, and take care of yourself as best you can!

What's next for Ellen?

I'm never really sure what's around the corner. But I do have a solo show locked in for November in Melbourne which I'm really excited about!


Check out Ellen’s website and Instagram to see some of her awesome work.