Interview with City Girl and Illustrator Ellen Weinstein


Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

City girl Ellen Weinstein was born and raised in New York City.  Her illustrations reflect the city’s energy with an imaginative point of view and energy.  Ellen’s style sometimes has a social commentary slant, humor or both, making it thought-provoking and fun.  Altpick had the pleasure of speaking with Ellen about her work, teaching and the upcoming ICON conference.

Altpick :: Recently you went to Italy to teach, tell us a little bit about your experience with the Italian culture, food and students.

Ellen Weinstein: Italy, of course is a fantastic place to visit and be immersed in great art and food. I greatly enjoy the experience of working with artists from different cultures and experiencing that the language of pictures is universal.


Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

 AP : Congratulations with your position as President of ICON8. It must be very exciting and I imagine a tremendous amount of responsibility.  Can you share the theme for next year’s event?

EW: The Illustration Conference is shaping up to be very exciting. We have had a great launch and there are many announcements to share in the months ahead. Serving on the board of ICON is a tremendous responsibility, not just for me, but also for the entire board and our Director, Mark Heflin. We are all busy with our own work, teaching, and families but make time to create a conference worthy of our attendees. The theme for ICON8 is Work + Play and Portland, Oregon is the perfect location for it.


Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

AP: As an artist and teacher, what are your thoughts on the contemporary illustration?

EW: Illustration feels much more spread out in different markets and genres rather than a one size fits all scenarios. I think students understand that they will need to pitch and develop their own projects as well as pursue commissions to make a living as an illustrator. It’s possible to be very well-known in a certain niche and completely unknown to people who work in another. That reality is both liberating and disconcerting.


Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

AP: There’s always a person that acts or is a mentor in someone’s life.  Who was yours?

EW: I was fortunate to have several, Milton Glaser, whose studio I interned in as a student was an enormous influence as an artist, educator and mentor. Through Milton, I met Henry Wolf, the renowned Art Director and photographer whom I worked for almost two years after graduating Pratt. Every day in their studios was a master class in visual thinking. Frances Jetter, who I met through taking her class at SVA, was a very big influence on my work as a young illustrator and very generous with her time and advice.


Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

AP: Which time period in art do you appreciate the most?

EW: That is a difficult question for me; there are works from almost every time period that I appreciate including writing and film along with visual art.


Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

 AP: New York City has always been a haven for artists and an inspiration to create.  How do you feel about the gentrification of almost all of the old neighborhoods in the city?  The old vibe of the Lower Eastside and Little Italy hardly exist anymore.

EW: Like any other change, the shifts seem subtle when you are living it every day. If I had been away from New York for a couple of years, I would feel like Charlton Heston in the ending of Planet of the Apes walking around my neighborhood. I miss independent bookstores or bookstores of any kind and non-chain coffee shops. I guess the one upside is I no longer have to run home in the middle of the street because it is safer than the sidewalks.

AP: Your work is always fresh and out of the box!  How do you stay inspired?

EW: Thanks for that comment, Maria. I had a dear friend, a swimming coach who would say, “you’re either getting better or getting worse, time doesn’t stand still and neither do we.” I think that holds true for everything, especially work. I can only hope to keep learning and remain excited about what I’m making.

unlikely cures_10

Copyright by Ellen Weinstein

Thank you Ellen!

To see more of Ellen Weinstein’s work go to her website and Altpick page.

About altpick connects

Established in 1992, The Alternative Pick commenced with a clear mission, providing creative buyers with a vehicle to source the best brightest and most exciting illustrators, photographers, graphic designers and animators in the business. The Alternative Pick sourcebook (1992-2005) became the outlet for cutting-edge commercial talent, offering a unique platform for artists to showcase their work. The Alternative Pick Deck (2009-2012) offered a fun and engaging format for locating leading commercial artists. In addition, The Altpick Awards (2003-2011) introduced yet another way to provide a platform for talents to shine. To meet the demands of an ever-changing industry, was launched in 1996 and presently provides a vehicle for talent to utilize the web to connect more effectively with buyers. As we mark our 30th anniversary in 2021, remains a premier source for creative professionals and we plan to continue to push the envelope providing the best vehicle for buyers to connect with creative talent.
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