Gimme 5: Adele Elliott

Adele Elliott is a New Orleans artist and author who has ben living in Columbus since 2005. She recently shared some aspects of her world with Do the 662.

 1. Where do you live and work?

My husband and I are from New Orleans. We have lived in Columbus since a witch named Katrina destroyed our home, our business, and most of my sanity. That was 17 years ago, and we are still here. However, I am a Louisiana girl to the bone. For several years, my family lived in Memphis. We moved back to NOLA when I was 11. I am so grateful to my parents for bringing me to the bohemian world of that city. New Orleans is a place that is not impressed by great wealth. Quirky and artistic personalities are honored. Whether someone makes music, jewelry, or paints – even chefs are celebrities – they are admired. The streets are a treasure trove of found objects. Much of my work starts with something found on the curb.

  1.  Tell us about your background in Art.

I have a degree in painting from the University of New Orleans. I have also taken classes at the Academy Gallery in uptown New Orleans. However, my education comes from a lifetime of painting on anything I can get my hands on. I straddle the worlds between fine art and outsider art.

I am primarily an oil painter, but use tons of assemblage in work. (My teachers would be horrified!)

I owned Ballunacy, the first balloon decorating company in the South. There, I developed a technique for painting on balloons. The business employed two full-time artists, besides me. We created balloon décor that no one else did.

  1.  What makes you do what you do?

I have a friend who is a poet. He and I discuss this topic often. Creating objects makes me happy. I have no illusions about fame. My only goal is to have enough sales to buy more art supplies. It is my therapy and my passion.

In college, I had some success with writing. Since then, I have published three novels.

My mother accused me of making art that is sad. She thought that my real talent was writing. But writing is painful. Art is my anti-depressant drug.

  1.  Who or what are your biggest influences and why?

Louisiana artist, Douglas Bourgeois, is a favorite. Also, Texas painter, Julie Speed. Joseph Cornell is one that I love. I study classical paintings, trying to learn techniques, but pale in comparison.

I consider myself a victim of my Catholic childhood, yet I am strongly influenced by Catholic iconography. I see auras (or halos), and often use them in my work. References to mythology and poetry also show up in images or titles.

  1. What do you think is integral to the work of an Artist?

TIME – and space!

My parents wanted me to be an art teacher. Their logic was that I could paint on weekends and during the summer. Why choose a career based on when you weren’t working?

Virginia Woolf wrote about “A Room of One’s Own.” We all need that!

I am so much more productive now that I don’t work a “9-5” job. I am in my seventies now, and in poor health. However, I try to do something art-related every day. I work in the evenings, usually until my behind gets tired from sitting in the same position for so long. Another goal is to sell some work to buy a comfier chair.

Bonus: What is something about you that nobody knows?

My four major food groups are Chocolate, Champagne, Caviar, and Chocolate (because you can’t get too much chocolate!).

Adele Elliott’s artwork will be featured in a solo show in the Main Gallery of the Rosenzweig Arts Center (501 Main St. in Columbus) in May of 2024. Her work is also available at

Her novels are available locally at Friendly City Books (118 5th St. N., Columbus;