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.
Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society commissioned three watercolors of Vineyard lighthouses reproduced as limited edition prints to raise funds for the preservation of these historic lighthouses, and another commission, was for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Song of the Whale, oil.
A painting by Ellis was commissioned by the White House Historical Society to represent the state of Georgia on a calendar commemorating the 200th year of occupancy of the White House.
He has taught workshops at Bray’s Island Plantation, South Carolina and lectured at the Landing’s Art Association, Skidaway, Georgia. He was elected to the Board of Governors of the National Art Museum of Sport, Indianapolis, Indianapolis. For Rolex, Inc. sponsor of the Junior Golf Association, Ellis completed The Young Golfer, a limited edition bronze sculpture to act as the annual trophy for the Junior Golf Championship.
Ellis was a juror along with Walter Cronkite for the "International Juried Exhibition" at the Mystic Maritime Museum, Mystic, Connecticut. and he was elected to the advisory board of the National Art Museum of Sport, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Private Collectors include: President and Mrs. George Bush, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lane, Eileen Ford, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Cronkite, Mrs. Wm. LaRoche, Sir John Conant, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Koger, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Krementz, Mr. Robert Urich, Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Boardman.