Ray Ellis, a marine painter much associated with South Carolina and the East Coast, especially Massachusetts, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1939 to 1941, he studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art and from 1940-41, was with the Art Department of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger. In 1954, he founded Ellis Advertising in New Jersey and New York City, and in 1957 received the "Advertising Man of the Year" award in New Jersey.
He has had numerous exhibitions and commissions including the following: 1999 One-Man Exhibition, The Red Piano Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC, "Ray Ellis/A Low Country Legend; "One-Man Exhibition, Gallery C, Raleigh, North Carolina of 25 watercolors and oils; Exhibition invitational of the Salmagundi Club, "Curator’s Museum Exhibition; 1997 One-Man Exhibition, The Red Piano Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC, of Recent Low Country Paintings; One-Man Exhibition, Geary Gallery, Darien, CT. "The Road to Ballybunion," 30 watercolors; Exhibition at the Telfair Museum, Ray Ellis: The Telfair Paintings, which includes fourteen watercolors. 1947 One-Man Exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.