Ellen Sandor is a new media artist, and Founder/Director of the collaborative artists’ group, (art)n. In 1975, she received an MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her time at SAIC led her to be inspired by photography, sculpture, and video, and intrigued by the spiritual nature of Outsider Art. In the early 1980s, Sandor had the vision to integrate these things with other art forms including computer graphics that resulted in a new medium she called PHSColograms, which are 3D barrier-screen computer-generated photographs and sculptures.
Because PHSColograms are a collaborative endeavor, Sandor has had the good fortune to work with an incredible group of gifted artists, scientists, technologists, and thinkers. These collaborators hail from distinguished institutions and universities including: The Scripps Research Institute, NASA Ames, Langley and Lewis Research Centers, JPL, and the University of Illinois. Some acclaimed artists Ellen and (art)n have worked with include: Ed Paschke, Karl Wirsum, Christopher Landreth, Martyl and Claudia Hart. All these collaborators have shared her enthusiasm for utilizing technology to push conceptual and technical boundaries within the arts.
The works of (art)n have been exhibited internationally by the U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program, Galeria Arteconsult, Panama, DAM [Berlin], and Musée Carnavalet, Paris; and are in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma, and others. Commissions include Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, The Smithsonian Institution, The City of Chicago Public Art Program, The State of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program, and SmithBucklin Corporation.
Sandor co-authored U.S. and international patents awarded to her for the PHSCologram process. She also co-authored papers that have been published in Computers & Graphics, IEEE, and SPIE. She is an eDream Affiliate and Visiting Scholar of Culture & Society, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Affiliate Graduate Faculty, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Secretary, Board of Eyebeam; and Advisory Board Chair, Gene Siskel Film Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She serves on the Board of Governors, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a Life Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and in 2013, received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. Sandor is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection, and in 2014, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was awarded Fermilab's Artist in Residence for 2016. In 2017, she was honored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for her longstanding commitment to integrating art and science. She is co-editor of New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts (2018) published by the University of Illinois Press.