S. Elle Campbell






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About S. Elle Campbell

Elle Campbell was a dancer, a clinical researcher, and later in life, a medical student. After leaving medical school in 2017, at 48 years old, Elle Campbell began painting to try to process her experiences there, and has been creating art ever since.

Her primary focuses are on portraiture, memory art, political art and medical art. She is primarily a painter, but has also created expansive collages and detailed sculpture in clay, ceramics and textiles.

Born in 1968 near the Haight District of San Francisco, Elle grew up a hippy child in the San Francisco Bay Area with her musician single mom and younger sister, until she was placed in foster care. By the time she was 17, she was an often homeless runaway punk.

By 25 years old, she married and began to attend Community College of San Francisco with the hopes of one day attending medical school. After completing the necessary pre-requisites, she transferred to UC Berkeley to finish her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Field Studies, with an emphasis in Psychobiology. During this time, Elle began working as a clinical researcher, primarily looking at homeless populations in San Francisco.

After graduation, Elle continued working in clinical research, and she and her husband bought a house and had a baby boy. While pregnant with her second child, she was accepted into medical school. She attended, but family and health issues made it impossible for her to continue. After a few years, she applied to another medical school, and was again accepted. After two years of attendance, she left traumatized by specific experiences, and with acute awareness that while she loved medicine as a practice, she would never be able to work within the culture and maintain her integrity. She moved her family to the Portland, OR area, took a settlement from the school, and began painting in 2018.

In the past two years, Elle has taken art classes at Portland Community College in order to expand her knowledge base and refine her talent. She continues to raise her two boys, and support her husband of 25 years in his career as a computer security analyst. She also sews, bakes, cooks, and enjoys dancing, yoga, and occasionally drinking whiskey neat at the end of a bar. She continues her advocacy for the mentally ill and the homeless and houseless.


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