Born 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA


2011 MFA in Fiber and Material Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2008 BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture (Cum Laude), Maryland Institute College of Art


Set Dressing, Production Design, Prop Styling, Sewing, Drapery & Garment Construction, Art Handling, Video Direction & Editing, Carpentry, Prop & Costume Design, Pattern Drafting, Photography, Upholstery, Mold-making, Painting, Drawing, Graphic Design, Performance, Puppetry, Printmaking, Embroidery, Crochet, Knitting, Teaching, Writing, Editing, Public Speaking


2015 Sally Hands Foundation Scholarship, Atlantic Center for the Arts
2013 Chicago Artist's Coalition, Maker Grant Finalist
2012 Stellar Scholarship, ACRE (Artists' Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions)
2009 Janet & Walter Sondheim Award Semi-Finalist
2007 Interdisciplinary Sculpture Departmental Recognition Award, MICA
2004 Academic Merit Scholarship, MICA
2004 Trustee's Award, MICA


2017-2019 ACRE, Chicago, IL (as staff)
2016 Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
2015 The Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL
2012 ACRE, Chicago, IL
2011 Oxbow Winter Session, Saugatuck, MI


2015 The Clownness, Kit & Ace, Chicago, IL
2012 Ultraviolets, Plaines Project, Chicago, IL
2010 We Have Been to the Forest and Found it Lacking, Labrabbit Optics, Chicago, IL 2010 Whimjobs, WE LIVE IN NY $ LA, Chicago, IL


2018 Live to Tape: Procedural Professional, Open Signal / Portland, OR
2018 Weird Habit, All Star Lanes / Los Angeles, CA
2017 OUTSIDE JOKES, DEMO Projects / Springfield, IL
2017 Western Pole, Curated by Jesse Malmed / Chicago, IL
2017 The Second Aspect of the Same, ____TIM NOLAS / Vienna, Austria
2017 Trash Vision, EMP Collective / Baltimore, MD
2017 HELLTRAP NIGHTMARE, The Hideout / Chicago, IL
2016 A RULE BY NOBODY, Curated by Third Object, Sector 2337 / Chicago, IL
2016 MCA PrimeTime: Ascend, Museum of Contemporary Art / Chicago, IL
2016 F is for Fake, Feminist Media Studies, Concordia University / Montreal, Canada
2016 MCA PrimeTime: Purple, Museum of Contemporary Art / Chicago, IL
2016 Performance Moment Junior, Pinky Swear / Chicago, IL
2016 Mediums, Constellation / Chicago, IL
2016 Comfort Films Presents: Her Environment, Homonyms, Comfort Station / Chicago, IL
2016 In/Habit: Press Repeat, Tritriangle / Chicago, IL
2016 Fields Magazine Issue 5 Release, Cafe Mustache / Chicago, IL
2016 2nd Floor Rear: We Are Here! Outerspace / Chicago, IL
2016 Palace Film Festival, Fine Arts Building / Chicago, IL
2015 Video! Video!: The Beauty Issue, Giron Books / Chicago IL
2015 The Wretched Nobles’ Best of 2015 Young Camelot / Chicago, IL
2015 Stamen & Pistols: Ellen Nielsen & Leslie Rogers, Chicago Filmmakers / Chicago, IL
2015 HORROR, CAMP, & MAKE BELIEVE, Young Camelot / Chicago, IL
2015 Point Taken, Little House / Chicago, IL
2015 Fields Magazine Issue 4 Release, Cafe Mustache / Chicago, IL
2015 Video! Video! 3 Templehead Gallery / Chicago, IL
2015 Queerfail Festival, Radar Productions & The Luggage Store Project / San Francisco, CA
2015 Live to Tape: Artist Television Festival, Constellation / Chicago, IL
2015 GAZE: Pleasure / Pain, The Artist's Television Access / San Francisco, CA
2014 Parlour Tapes Presents: A Very Special Holiday Special!, Constellation Chicago / Chicago, IL
2014 KITCHEN SYNC, The Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Chicago, IL
2014 RAVING DISCO DOLLY ON A ROCK AND ROLL TROLLEY, Envoy Enterprises / Manhattan, NY
2014 ACTIVATE, Johalla Projects with the Chicago Loop Alliance / Chicago, IL
2013 SURPRISE, The Bridge PAI / Charlottesville, Virginia
2013 MIX NYC, Mix Factory / Brooklyn, NY
2013 trying to be cute bc the abyss, Co-Prosperity Sphere / Chicago, IL
2012 AFTERIMAGE, DePaul University Art Museum / Chicago, IL
2012 BLACK ARTS, Roxaboxen Exhibitions / Chicago, IL
2011 GULP, YARN, BANG! School 33 / Baltimore, MD
2011 C A R T, Current Gallery / Baltimore, MD
2011 MFA Thesis Exhibition, SAIC Sullivan Gallery / Chicago, IL
2009 Sondheim Prize Semi-Finalist Exhibition, Decker Gallery / Baltimore, MD
2009 The Point! (producer and director) In collaboration with Dan Breen, Jeanne-Marie Burdette, and the Baltimore Annex Theater The 5th Dimension / Baltimore, MD
2009 For Decorative Purposes Only! Midway at Artscape / Baltimore, MD 2009
2008 MEANDYOUANDUST, Maryland Institute College of Art / Baltimore, MD
2008 Corner Store (FUF 2008) Load of Fun Gallery / Baltimore, MD
2007 Epicenter for Short-Lived Phenomenon, Middendorf Gallery at MICA / Baltimore, MD
2007 Exposition / Exhibition, Centre pour l’art et la culture / Aix-En-Provence, France


IATSE Local 44 Set Dresser and Prop Assist
2019 - Present

Pluto Laundry
Freelance Designer and Fabricator
2012 - 2017
Created custom props, sets, garments, and furnishings for TV, film, art and commercial spaces. Past clients include Leo Burnett, Whole Foods, The Chicago Athletic Association, Johalla Projects, Claire Pentecost, Brainframe, and Parlour Tapes.

Thoma Foundation
Safely handled and installed artwork for storage and exhibition at the Foundation's Orange Door site in Chicago

Video! Video! Zine
Assistant Director
2015 - Present
Worked with Director Zach Hutchinson, to facilitate Video! Video!, a monthly, juried screening series and online magazine dedicated to providing a platform for emerging video artists of all backgrounds. Corresponded with artists and jurors, created monthly themes, wrote proposals, and edited published materials.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Teaching Artist
Worked with the AIC education department to build a curriculum for a 24-hour fashion workshop in which teens redesigned the museum security officer uniforms. Taught basic patterning, sewing, and garment construction to high school age students.

Teaching Artist, "Costume Party"
Winter 2013
Instructed students in sewing, basic patterning, and cardboard fabrication techniques while introducing them to contemporary artists engaged with costume and performance.
Organized a final dance party, performance, and multimedia installation for the students to showcase their creations.

The Nature of Things
Pattern Drafter / Seamstress
2011 - 2013
Created patterns and garments from original designs by fibers artist, Sandra Adams.

Maryland Institute College of Art
Visiting Critic in Interdisciplinary Sculpture

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Teaching Assistant for Intro to Fibers
2010 - 2011
Demonstrated fiber techniques such as crochet, knitting, machine-sewing, and dyeing to undergraduate students. Engaged students in critical discussions about contemporary art, craft, and theory.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Teaching Assistant for the First Year Program Core Studio
2009 - 2010
Instructed students in a broad range of processes including sewing, carpentry, figure drawing, and graphic design. Supervised the woodshop, performed maintenance on tools, and kept inventory of supplies.

Baltimore Annex Theater
Collective Member / Set Designer / Props Master
2008 - 2010
Designed and built props, sets, and costumes for Annex productions. Performed in numerous plays including Faustus, Space Ghost, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Directed and produced a full-scale puppet musical of Harry Nilsson’s The Point!

Kenneth and Elizabeth Lundeen Properties Intern
2008 - 2009
Manufactured props for use in CENTERSTAGE performances using techniques ranging from carpentry and upholstery to graphic design.

Maryland Institute College of Art
Teaching Assistant for Interdisciplinary Sculpture
Demonstrated techniques such as carpentry, sewing, mold-making, and Photoshop to foundation-year students while fostering student's conceptual development and critical engagement.

Parkett Publishers
Editorial Assistant
Copy-edited drafts of articles. Kept office organized. Communicated with artists, writers, and galleries to facilitate issue 77 of Parkett Magazine.


Fields Magazine, Issue 5 “Profile: Ellen Nielsen” by Sarah Quillin 2016

DePaul Art Museum, Afterimage Exhibition catalog. "Ellen Nielsen" by Elizabeth Chodos, 2012

ArtSlant, "Afterimage" by Alicia Chester, 2012

Monsters & Dust, Issue #3 "Flowers" 2012

Newcity Art, "Portrait of the Artist: Ellen Nielsen" by Lee Colon, 2012

This Here Photo, "Ellen Nielsen Studio Visit: Beyond Velvet" by Alex De Leon, 2012

Mildred Pierce Issue #4, 2011

Beautiful Decay Magazine Online, 2010

Ruby Mag Issue #44, 2009

Bad at Sports Weekend Pick, 2009

Baltimore Sun, "Giving Props to the Proper Props" by Mary McCauley, 2008