Ella Guru bigraphy, stories - American painter and musician living in London

Ella Guru : biography

May 24, 1966 -

Ella Guru (born May 24, 1966) is an American painter and musician living in London. She was a member of Mambo Taxi and the Voodoo Queens. In 1999, she became one of the founding members of the Stuckist art movement.


Ella Guru was born in Ohio, USA.Buckman, David (2006), Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945, p.653, Art Dictionaries, Bristol, 2006, ISBN 0-9532609-5-X She did a commercial art course at Fort Hayes Career Center (1982–84) and attended Columbus College of Art and Design (1984–86), which she left because of "all the conceptual crap".Milner, Frank ed. (2004), The Stuckists Punk Victorian, p.68, National Museums Liverpool, ISBN 1-902700-27-9. See also excerpt on National Museums Liverpool web site. She graduated in fine arts from Ohio State University (1988–89), where she received the Visual Arts Award.

1990–91, she worked as a go-go dancer and stripper, and travelled to Africa and India, then for the next year lived an Islamic lifestyle in an Algerian household in Islington, London, where she was a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. She has lived in London since this time. In 1996, she rode a bicycle to Lithuania, and met Sexton Ming in London, after borrowing his lipstick. In 1997, she worked as a web site designer. In 2001, she married Ming on a Dorset cliff top; they wore drag. Her daughter Lucy was born in 2004.

She has been an habituée of fetish clubs, where she used to spank men, whom she terms "Tory politicians". She had lunch in New York with Quentin Crisp, who said she was "weird". Guru's pseudonym is taken from a Captain Beefheart song on the album Trout Mask Replica.


  • Painter of the Year 2000, Amsterdam Gay News
  • Real Turner Prize 2002, joint winner.Prudames, David. , Culture 24. Retrieved 19 September 2009.


Guru started painting seriously again in 1997. In 1999, she was one of the thirteen founder members, Stuckism.com. Retrieved 16 September 2009. of the pro-figurative painting Stuckists, an anti-conceptual art and pro-figurative painting art movement founded by Charles Thomson and Billy Childish., Tate. Retrieved 16 September 2009. She started the Stuckist web site, stuckism.com:Thomson, Charles, "A Stuckist on Stuckism" in: Milner, Frank, ed. The Stuckists Punk Victorian, p.7, National Museums Liverpool 2004, ISBN 1-902700-27-9. Essay available online at .

Thomson said that most of the Stuckist groups made their first contact through the site and that Stuckism was "the first significant art movement to spread via the Internet."Thomson, Charles, "A Stuckist on Stuckism" in: Milner, Frank, ed. The Stuckists Punk Victorian, p.9, National Museums Liverpool 2004, ISBN 1-902700-27-9. Essay available online at . In 2000, she took part in the first Stuckist demonstration against the Turner Prize at Tate Britain,, Stuckism.com. Retrieved 19 September 2009. and has done so in later years also.See links from on Stuckism.com for further details.

In 2004, she was one of the fourteen artists in the "founder and featured" section of The Stuckists Punk Victorian show held at the Walker Art Gallery for the Liverpool Biennial., Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool. Retrieved 6 April 2008. In 2006, she was one of the ten "leading Stuckists", The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 March 2008. in the Go West exhibition at Spectrum London gallery.


Guru has stated her concern with ability and technique, and her admiration for the work of Old Masters, although they are not necessarily her model for painting; she also appreciates untrained artists who show invention in their work. She spent three years painting life models at art college, which gave her much of the grounding for her approach to art.

Her paintings take anywhere between two days and two years to complete, and usually start by her "going out and getting pissed with my friends", when she takes the photographs which provide the initial ideas, although the images she works from are often "very bad, dark, fuzzy photos", necessitating subsequent real life studies as well as imaginative interpretation. The initial layout is done with a line drawing, but the aim is to achieve a finished result where the subject appears three-dimensional. She has talked about an irrational obsession with shapes, such as those of wigs, which have always fascinated her.

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Living octopus

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