Noe Valley Voice October 2005

Ellen Is Into Art More Than Ever Now

By Corrie M. Anders

Not long before her mother died, Ellen Into got some sage parental advice: Stop dabbling and get serious about your artwork.

That was almost two decades ago. At the time, Into was just starting out a dual career in San Francisco as a clinical psychologist and a real estate agent.

But get serious she did. Today, Into is a locally recognized painter whose canvases hang in the homes of collectors and small businesses, and fill the 24th Street storefront that doubles as her studio/ gallery and real estate office.

Into will be among 700 fine artists--both emerging and established--who will showcase their original works at locations around the city each weekend during the month of October.

San Francisco Open Studios is sponsoring the free visual event, which will also include at least 16 Noe Valley locations, where art lovers can view and purchase everything from paintings and sculpture to photographs and jewelry.

Noe Valley's studios will be open during the weekend of Oct. 22­23. Artists in the Castro, Duboce, Mission, Glen Park, Bernal Heights, Eureka Valley, and Diamond Heights neighborhoods also will open their doors the same weekend. (For the complete list of artists, go to www. or pick up a map at Bell Market, Phoenix Books, Cover to Cover, or other locations around the city.)

Open Studios is celebrating its 30th anniversary in San Francisco, and Into has participated in many of the exhibitions. Her paintings were mostly on display at a studio in Hunters Point until last year, when she switched her Open Studios viewing location to 24th Street.

Into, 72, is a frail, soft-spoken woman who shows off her artistic strength in oil splashed across large canvases. She primarily paints portraits and still-life flowers--the latter usually in vivid, energetic colors. Her style, according to Into, is influenced by Bay Area Expressionism, which she describes as "somewhere between realism and abstract...with the emphasis on the colors and the emotional feeling."

Into comes from an artistic family. Her mother, who died in 1986, was an art student in New York who engaged her children in painting. She also had the kids fashion art made from objects they scavenged at local junkyards.

"We'd have informal shows for ourselves out of things that came from the dump," Into recalls.

Into says her mother encouraged her to make art a more meaningful part of her life. "I think she saw something. I promised my mom, 'I'm going to be serious about it.'"

Following in her mother's footsteps, Into has passed her artistic flair to two of her three children--one is a painter and the other is a sculptor.

Into has taken art classes off and on over the years. "It was catch as catch can," says Into, who picked up her real estate license in 1979 and a psychologist license in 1983. Never one to cease learning, Into still studies at Fort Mason, which offers art classes for seniors.

Today, her 24th Street studio/gallery is filled with dozens upon dozens of painted canvases--some hung on the walls but many stacked up around the room. "There are more at home," she says.

Into has sold a number of her works in the $1,500 range to collectors. Her paintings start at $250, however, and are mostly sold to buyers who want artwork to decorate their homes. Into also has reproduced her paintings on postcards that sell for $1.

Into doesn't work as hard outside the studio as she once did. She's semi-retired as a psychologist and has tried to step back from real estate, "but people keep calling me up."

But she has no immediate plans to give up the brush and canvas. "I'm still prolific," she says, looking around her crammed gallery, "as you can see."

Noe's Walk-In Galleries

Close to two dozen Noe Valley artists will open their doors on Saturday, Oct. 22, and Sunday, Oct. 23, as part of San Francisco Open Studios, a citywide art show celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Below is a partial list of the local artists who will welcome visitors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. For information on all 700 artists displaying their work on weekends in October, go to www.sfopen or call 415-248-1909.

Kelly Dinglasan, 3875 20th St.

Ellen Into, 4207 24th St.

Josephine Iselin, 601 Diamond St.

Kimberley Jones, 4236 25th St. #10
painting, drawing

Eda Kavin, 3838 19th St.
painting, watercolor

Mark Madsen, 462 30th St.
sculpture, fiber

Michael Markowitz, 3747 23rd St.
drawing, sculpture, painting

Renato Martinez, 4244 23rd St.

Chris Mende, 1255 Sanchez St.

Nancy Otto, 863A Elizabeth St.
glass, sculpture

Ben Pax, 272 Jersey St.
painting, drawing

Henry Sultan, 1698 Sanchez St.
painting, drawing

Jenny Sultan, 1696 Sanchez St.
painting, mixed-media

Augusta Talbot, 1055 Church St.
sculpture, mixed-media, drawing

Cecilia Welden, 935 Sanchez St.
mixed-media, painting

Yvonne Williams, 3674 22nd St.
photography, furniture