Photography by Ellie India Rose Carty
Interview by Esme Carty
There is something magnetic about Ellier, the work they create, the person they are. There are such important takeaways from this one conversation alone, from the compassion and connection you can share with other human beings to the confidence and belief you can have in yourself as a creator and person.
I: This year alone you’ve produced a music video, sat on a panel for costume and makeup for a short film, and designed new clothing pieces. When you were growing up was there one career that you wanted to do or have you always wanted to be a part of multiple careers?
E: I’ve definitely wanted to just do everything. I think I’m very invincible in the fact that I can try anything and succeed, but if I fail anything it’s like, ‘Okay, what’s next?’ I’m not afraid to not be good at something, so it leaves so many open doors for me to try out new things. I feel like a Jack of all trades; I know everything and have clear understandings of why I’m not good at something as well as why I am good at something. I’ve always grown up like that.
I: Is there something, moving forward, you would like to make a name for yourself in as well as having multiple career ventures?
E: My biggest thing is–this is so silly–but I would like people to understand that I’m an idea guy before anything else. I’m totally good at doing things, and with my hands I can dip into so many different crafts, but before all of that I have ideas. When I have worked with people, they’ll present an idea and I’m able to expand on it and it becomes this whole project. I think that is the biggest thing I wish people would realize that I just have tons of ideas all of the time.
I: Even with your designs, because I want to talk about that, you step out of the bounds of what we are exposed to in everyday fashion, like with the fur shoes. What is that inspires or influences your designs? It doesn’t even have to do with fashion.
E: I take so much inspiration from the people around me and everything around me, it’s kind of hard to explain. I’m looking at a broken fence right now and I can see there's geometric patterns in between it that can fit into any artistic medium. I just have to be inspired by something as simple as a fence, or the way a bush looks. Even the way someone is talking, the adjectives I would describe them as. Like if someone is elegant, how do I capture the essence of elegance, or how would I capture this person’s personality. It’s very reform and abstract. I take inspiration from everything around me, even the dust on the ground.
I: I love that because then you see the beauty in everything.
E: Yeah, there’s so much love and life in everything. I think that everything has a certain vibration. I want other people to see that and feel that, be excited to see things like that. Our world can be super dull sometimes and it’s easy to be pessimistic, but ahhh look at the life around you!
I: What was your first introduction to the creative world, or first memory of thinking, ‘oh this is what I want to do/be a part of?’
E: I think my earliest introduction was when I was around eight years old, I don’t know if it was for Christmas or for my birthday but my Nana signed me up for this art weekend at Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It’s where professional teachers and artists go, and they had a little kids program that was so cool. I got to, not only have an art teacher, but I got to have an art teacher that was successful in the industry and had been for so many years. I just remember being like, “You do this full time?” All he did was make sculptures of rhinos, that’s all he did, the same rhino over and over again in different sizes. He was like, “Yeah, I’ve been doing this the past 30 years.” My little eight year-old brain was like, ‘Holy, I can do way more than one rhino! I can really do this!’ So that was it. After that, I couldn’t think of anything else. I didn’t know what I was going to do but I was like, ‘I’m gonna be like this guy, I’m gonna find my one thing and do it for 30/40 years. That’s it.”
I: Cut to you now doing everything, you are the antithesis to him.
E: He’d be so proud.
I: Have you lived in Arizona your whole life?
E: Born and raised in Mesa, then lived in a few other cities. I’ve traveled quite a bit, I did run away and flee the country when I was 14 but came back for high school. I’ve been here ever since.
I: What did you learn from that experience, fleeing the country?
E: One, again, I’m literally invincible and nothing can stop me.
E: Thank you. I was 14 and I grew up in Mesa and Gilbert and was like, ‘This cannot be the only thing, the world has to be bigger than this.’ I also grew up super religious, so I was in a religious bubble. I ended up getting a job bussing tables on the weekends at this pizza place. I saved up a bunch of money, went online, bought an international ticket, and didn’t say anything to anyone. The day before I was supposed to leave, the airport called my Mom and were like, “Hey, you have a minor traveling across the world by themselves.” I was like, “Mom, please let me go! Please!” and she was like, “Okay, go.” It showed me how hard I can work for things, how much I had my Mom’s trust–which was so insane because she had never done anything like that before. I just knew that my heart and brain were a little bit bigger than the people I was around, I felt like I was bigger than where I was at that point, I think I’m meant for more than just the traditional lifestyle. That’s one thing I’ve done and have never looked back, it changed who I am.
I: I got chills.
E: I’m really paraphrasing it.
I: Do you think you have that nomad mindset of wanting to go everywhere and anywhere?
E: Absolutely. Even throughout high school and my early twenties, I was always going by myself to other states. I was in California, New York, Washington, Oregon; I was always trying to find somewhere different to be. It’s not like I hated Arizona, I love Arizona but those places are so different from here and I didn’t think it was fair that I was so limited. I think I deserve to explore.
I: What feeling comes most naturally to you, why do you think that is?
E: I would say compassion because I have a special interest in human communication, that is something that is so important to me. The longer I live, the more I realize how in depth [human connection] can be. I love finding ways to connect with people, and that can be over anything. I met a guy at a party and we talked about birds for an hour and a half because that’s what he led with; I was like, “What do you like that’s not what everyone here is doing in the music scene?” and he was like, “Well, I like birds.” So we talked about birds. It was an awesome conversation. If you just let people talk to you and you listen and reciprocate it, you can create a bond in that moment that is just incredible; you can take it further or leave it where it’s at.
I: Do you find that you take in information just like that?
E: Yeah, I wouldn’t say I have a photographic memory because I don’t, but I definitely remember everything that is said. If I see somebody and we have a conversation I like, and maybe I don't see them for three weeks, when I see them again I can ask them about that thing. People love that, people love to be heard and remembered.
I: Who would be a dream artist to produce a video shoot for/who would be a dream artist to dress in your brand?
E: I would love to style Doechii, and that is because I’ve worked with her before. I did her album cover for Braless, which was the album she put out right before she got signed by TDE. I actually got called to help with her rollout for her next album after she got signed; her team decided to go a whole different route and it ended up looking amazing and flawless, but I have six looks that I’ve already planned for her that will just sit and wait. I would love to style her because she’s so good: she’s an amazing performer, an amazing lyricist, she’s also so fucking kind. Of all the people I’ve worked with, she’s in my top five kindest musicians. As far as artists I’d like to work with, they just came on Easter, I’d love to do something with Cryogeyser.
I: I feel like you can
E: I feel like I can. I feel like I’m pretty close. If I could do a video for them or Alex G, any artist in that genre or sound.
I: Do you believe in manifestation?
E: Yes, absolutely!
I: What’s your little ritual?
E: I am so ritualistic. If I really want something, like more than anything in the world, the most important thing that I have to remind myself is that as much as I want it I have to know that I am just as good if I don’t get it. I get myself in that kind of energy field. I have this little glass bowl that I put a candle in and I write something super sacred to myself on a piece of paper and put it in, use my little salt, light it, say my little prayers. I definitely like to get the whole experience of manifesting.
I: It’s interesting how many people do it differently, and it works!
E: It does! It’s definitely worked for me, I’ve gotten this far with it.
I: What is something you wish more people knew about yourself?
E: I love having a brand but I think I would label myself strictly as an independent designer. As early as 2018, I started working with other brands and, again, I was very much an idea guy; someone would present an idea and I’d take it a step further, ‘maybe we should do it this way, how would an audience react if we did it this way.’ That’s where I think I belong, in the room with people talking about things. I love making clothing and I always will, but I don’t like mass producing very much, it goes back to humanity and human connection. I like to do very curated one pieces for people.
I: When did you enter the Phoenix creative scene?
E: I think I’ve always been around, as soon as I turned 18 I really wanted to get out of my house. I really wanted to see what Phoenix was all about. I bounced around and definitely used to be more colorful and extroverted. Even if I haven’t been a prominent figure or am not a prominent figure now, I’ve been around and seen the growth of a lot of prominent businesses in Phoenix and I’ve been lucky to help out with some of them whether it was giving my ideas or just a part of something they were doing. I’ve always been around since the beginning and I think we’re still in the beginning. I think we’re seeing over the fence; just in the last year we’ve seen people reach success within our art community. There are still a lot of people in the beginning or in the middle of just now figuring out, so I’m excited to see. I definitely have observations and keeping tabs for sure.
I: To be behind the scenes and an overseer of all of this, you have so many paths to go down which is freeing.
E: It feels good, I still have existential crises sometimes and timing anxiety but I think it’s important for a lot of people to be able to wake up in the morning and be like, I am only who I am today and cut it off there. Today if I am someone who spends twelve hours on clothing, then that is who I am today. If today I’m someone who is going to produce a music video, then that is who I am today. I can’t get so caught up in wanting to do one thing in the future to the point where I only stick to that one thing. It is beneficial to some people who are good at one thing but I think you should always keep yourself open, there’s always room for expansion. I would never have known that I fucked with beading so much if I hadn’t sat down the other day and done it. I have never really cared about the detailing of beading until a week ago, now I’m like, ‘This is so fun!’
I: That’s such a rush when you discover new things, the possibilities are endless! Since you are also doing so much, surrounded by people in many ways, is there anything you do to step back and have a moment to yourself?
E: I definitely spend a lot of time alone, I don’t think people understand how much time I spend alone because I am so social, and I really do like to show up and show out–that’s the leo in me. Unless I’m really passionate about something, like these shoes–I did them because I wanted to and I had an idea–but I don’t work on Saturdays and Sundays. I relax and rest and do whatever I want to do [on the weekends]. I overwork myself and forget I have a physical body and need to chill out. I love my alone time.
Make sure to check out Ellier's designs on Instagram!