Born in the farmlands of Maine and eventually migrating towards the tiny city of Boston, Ellei Johndro was an artist from her early years. A nature girl at heart, one of her first artistic endeavors was the process of slowly peeling the white bark from birch trees and using it for painting paper and writing letters to friends. By the time she was 12, she was sculpting full figure comic characters and unusable ceramic mugs. From pottery making she quickly progressed to the art of airbrushing for a very short time before her options were enlightened with a photography class at the age of 14. It was that first class under the tutorial of Mr. Chop that opened her eyes and nose to the sensation of a manual black box and wonderfully scented chemicals. Day in and day out the images were printed and mounted and after a brief three months of passionately working, her first image "Solidified" was entered into a student competition.
Ellei was commonly refered to as the next Margaret Bourke-White, but after four years of immersing herself in the art, her true interests and influences became Edward Weston, Lewis Hine, Andre Kertesz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. The essence of capturing the moment as well as the true ways of life were her passion. Her first gallery show was held in Boston at L'Attitudes in 2002 for her street life collection.
Post her Emerson College years, Ellei began her quest of searching out the "real" in life. She spent over a month travelling through Europe stopping in Paris, Normandy, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome and Florence. It was in these flourishing and visually stimulating cities that she captured some of her best documentary work. Upon returning to the states, she quickly packed up and drove to the West Coast where she continued her exploration and immersion into nightlife.
It was because of her extensive work and artistic footprint in the city of Los Angeles that Ellei became one of the most recognized photographers to have documented the "hipster youth movement" as well as be adorned with her new moniker, Ellei Warhol. The LA Times called her "an unexpected nightlife queen" while FORTH Magazine claimed her to be leading a movement they referred to as the "new weird."
Ellei continues to document urban subcultures and street life while maintaining her events under the Shadowscene brand. She may not peel the bark off birch trees anymore, but she definitely leaves a trail of chaos from coast to coast on her annual tours. Thankfully, it's all chronicled here on Shadowscene.
Oh, she also has a band.