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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.  PHSColograms are the Daguerreotypes of Virtual Reality. 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, Shingoethe Center–Aurora University, 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 past 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 a Life Trustee Emeritus, The Art Institute of Chicago. She is Secretary of the Board of Eyebeam and is a Board Member of the American Friends Musée d’Orsay et de L'Orangerie; Fred Jones Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; and Asolo Repertory Theatre. 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 as longtime Chair of the Center. She is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection,  



Contributing Artists

1983 - 2022

Ben Carney    

Michael Cone 

Chris Day

Miguel Delgado

Janine Fron 

Nick Gaul

Azadeh Gholizadeh

Randy Johnson

Gary Justis

Chris Kemp

Pete Latrofa

Jack Ludden

Todd Margolis

Nichole Maury

TJ McLeish

Thomas Meeker

Stephan Meyers

Keith Miller

Fernando Orellana

Sabrina Raaf

Mark Resch

William Robertson

Mike Siegel

Dan Sandin

Diana Torres

Dien Truong

Gina Uhlmann

Jim Zanzi

Major Collaborators

Stephanie Barish           

Geoffrey Baum


Steve Boyer

Benjamin Chang

Donna Cox

Carolina Cruz-Neira

Charles Csuri

Tom DeFanti

Margaret Dolinsky

Jennifer Doudna

Michael Dunbar

Andre Ferella

Barry Flanary

George Francis

Phillipe Paul Froesch

Carla Gannis

David Goodsell

Gero Gries

Anton Hand

Claudia Hart

Mr. Imagination

Chris Landreth 

Robert Lostutter

Gerhard Mantz

Feng Mengbo

Ron Nielsen

TJ O’Donnell

Arthur Olson

Ed Paschke

Bob Patterson

Dana Plepys

Maggie Rawlings

Miroslaw Rogala

Cynthia Beth Rubin

Caren Rudman

Dan Sandin

Larry Smarr

Beth Stevens

Lisa Stone

Margaret Watson

Sylvia Weintrab

Karl Wirsum

Zhou Brothers


Ellen Sandor with Battle of Midway U.S. Marine Veteran, Ed Fox

Chicago Imagist painter, the late great Ed Paschke with Ellen Sandor.  

Beth Stevens and Ellen Sandor in dialogue about Microglia

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