As featured in: 
The Process: Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975, HON 2014) on Her Process, featured in the SAIC Fall 2017 magazine

"Art Saves. Tough Art and Science Really SAVES." 


- Ellen Sandor



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 MFA studies at SAIC led her to explore the relationship between photography, sculpture, and video art, while being inspired by the spiritual nature of Outsider Art. In the early 1980s, Sandor had the unique vision to integrate these elements with nascent art forms including computer graphics, resulting in a new medium she called PHSColograms–3D barrier-screen computer-generated photographs and sculptures.  Major themes (art)n has explored include breakthroughs in STEM and art, alongside visual history, art history and tolerance.  The (art)n group primarily works with PHSColograms as immersive, backlit digital 3D photos, PHSCologram sculpture installations, and related VR experiences.  


As PHSColograms and VR are collaborative endeavors, Sandor often works with kindred artists, scientists, technologists and thinkers, affiliated with distinguished institutions and universities including: Fermilab, Stevens Lab, Doudna LabUniversity of California-Berkeley, Scripps Research Institute, NASA Ames, Langley and Lewis Research Centers, NASA JPL–California Institute of Technology, University of ChicagoNorthwestern Universityand the University of Illinois. Many collaborators share in her enthusiasm for experimenting with technology to push conceptual and aesthetic boundaries within the arts and sciences. Influential artists and innovators Sandor and (art)n have worked with include: Donna Cox, Martyl, Claudia Hart, Carla Gannis, Chris Landreth, Charles Csuri, Miroslaw RogalaDan Sandin, Tom DeFanti, Larry SmarrArthur J. Olson, and the late Ed Paschke, Karl Wirsum and Mr. Imagination. Sandor has also collaborated with trailblazing women scientists and technologists who are pathfinders for women in STEM, including Nobel Prize recipient Jennifer Doudna, Beth StevensCynthia K. Thompson, Carolina Cruz-Neira, and others who have contributed to the ‘herstory’ of women in science. She has mentored women in new media to be fearless in their life's work and pursuing their dreams.  

The works of Ellen Sandor and (art)n have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, International Center of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, Fermilab, Smart Museum of Art–University of Chicago, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma, and private collections. Commissions include: The Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, The City of Chicago Public Art Program, State of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program, and SmithBucklin Corporation.


Sandor co-invented U.S. and international patents awarded for the PHSCologram process. She co-authored published papers in Computers & Graphics, IEEE and SPIE. She is a recent Visiting Scholar of Culture & Society, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  In 2014, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2016, she was awarded Fermilab's Artist in Residence.  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 and contributor of the herstory book: New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts, University of Illinois Press.  


Sandor is additionally Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gene Siskel Film Center–School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Board Member, Governors for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Life Trustee, The Art Institute of Chicago. She is Secretary of the Board of Eyebeam; Board Member, American Friends Musée d’Orsay; and Board Member, Fred Jones Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma. In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts.  In 2013, she received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. She is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection,