Who’s Who: Elliott Earls (Part1) Biography

Elliott Peter Earls interest in design began around high school. In Cincinnati, Ohio Earls attended Jesuit high school with no particular interest in academics or art. It was his mother who suggested to him to take up drawing and painting to lead him into a career in graphic design. Afterwards, Earls began his journey into the world of corporate graphic design and won a place at the Rochester Institute of Technology by submitting a portfolio with the help of a mentor.

After graduating college in 1988, Earls went on to have a rocky relationship with corporate design jobs. He got a job at de Harak and Poulin Associates in New York, only to be fired eleven months later. Discouraged, Earls fled to Greenwich, Connecticut, where he would, in Canaan, see an issue of VanderLans’s magazine. An art-filled piece of media that inspired and enlightened him to the world of more subjective, artistic and abstract graphic design, sparking him to follow a new path for his career (Poynor).

In 1995, Earls received an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Out of school, Ealrs began working at Elektra Records in New York City. A turning point for Earls, he was once again hired and fired not too much later. The experience of working as a designer for a company just did not sit well with Earls and he decided to found his own studio he called, “Apollo Program Studio.” From here, Earls would go on to work for two years on his iconic project Throwing Apples at the Sun, a critically acclaimed DVD-ROM of Music and New Media that created a stir in popular media and the artistic community.

The DVD-ROM art piece would go on to start Earls’s career as an experimental artist (Earls). He would be awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from Manhattan’s prestigious Wooster Group four years after (Jamiehap). Earls also branched out into performances and became known for his stage performances as well as his art performance pieces. In 2002, Earls released his next iconic art piece called Catfish, a fifty-five minute documentary of Earls 1997 performance at HERE Soho.

Catfish would go on to create much artistic squabble and interest in the art community. Now designer, performer and artist, Earls went on to be featured in museums and Music Halls. In 2008, Earls created “Thoughts on Democracy” for The Wolfsonian Museum as well as for an Art Basel Miami Beach debut of the piece. One year later, there was an AXA Installation made by Earls, also featured in Art Basel, Miami Beach Vernissage. Many of his pieces went on to be permanently acquired by the museums they were shown in. In 2011, he had a major installation shown at the Triennale Design Museum Milan, signifying his artistic prowess and growing reputation in the art world.

Elliott Earls now runs a YouTube channel called Studio Practice, posting insights into his design thoughts, and tips/tricks as well as advice for fellow artists. Created in 2015, the channel has amassed 6.28K subscribers and his last video was published March, 2022, titled “Alpha Designer. Beta Designer | Episode 117”, giving insight into corporate versus personal artistry and careers. Earls also went on to create his own website called “Minislimited” to release and sell his limited edition designs and art objects online. To date, he has released six editions of limited figurines/sculptures to be sold through his website and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon (Earls).


Earls, Elliott P. “Elliott Earls Biographical Information.” www.elliottearls.com, 25 Mar. 2022, https://www.elliottearls.com/about-elliott-earls/.

‘Jamiehap.’ “Elliott Earls Artworks.” Art Collectorz, https://www.artcollectorz.com/artists/artist-detail?artist_id=2961. 

Poynor, Rick. “Feature: A Designer and a One-Man Band.” Eye Magazine, 2002, https://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/a-designer-and-a-one-man-band.

Discussion — One Response

  • Liza Wingfield 04/14/2022 on 11:10 AM

    Hi Olivia, I really enjoyed this post, you provided really great information. What I got from your piece is that Elliott Peter Earls is an American graphic designer and artist who has worked exceptionally hard for his name to be known today. His journey of being in and out of jobs is truly inspiring. Throughout this journey it is impressive he has now found himself head of graphic design at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Upon further research of his work, I found myself admiring how cool his designs are. I really enjoy his pieces they seem to be a sort of modern graffiti.

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