Born in Downey, California, a suburb southeast of Los Angeles, and raised by a single parent, pan ellington’s life changed at thirteen – the year they received a Brother AX-24 electric typewriter as a Christmas gift from their father. They’d write their first play the following summer.
Never really feeling as though they fit into the white bread suburbia that their hometown was then, it wasn’t long before ellington began looking outward – first working on classic musicals at the Downey Civic Light Opera and sneaking away to Melrose Avenue as a teenager, then in the gay nightclubs of West Hollywood as a newly out person in the early 90s, and later, finding community in the underground rave scene that once thrived throughout Los Angeles, circa 2000.
They attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, majoring in theatre from 1989 to ’91. And as a non-traditional student graduated from Los Angeles City College in 2011 and UC Berkeley in 2014 with an Associate’s degree in English and a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Media Studies, respectively. They’ve been privileged to recite their poetry for Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks at the High School for the Arts, study Kafka’s philosophical fiction with Professor Judith Butler at UC Berkeley, and have presented their paper, “Authorial Trickery: The Writing of Luigi Pirandello and Charlie Kaufmann” at both the Honors Transfer Council of California’s annual conference at UC Irvine in 2011 and at the inaugural Comparative Literature Symposium at UC Berkeley in 2012.
They’ve presented their artwork throughout California, their first at Arcadia presented by VVM at the Santa Monica Pier in a show titled, “what would u say?” in 2000 and their photography series, #solitarywalker at the Albany Taproom in a show titled “bay area life on foot” in 2019. They’ve served as the official photographer of the tenth iteration of the legendary pride party, Queerly Beloved and have continued to produce work for their experimental film series, “reveries of a solitary walker” throughout Berkeley and the Bay area.
Pan Ellington’s first novel, “a f*cked-up fairytale,” was published in 2015 and in 2021, their first collection of street photography and essays, “fear & loathing as america burns.” They are now writing the next chapter of their epic, a prequel to “fairytale,” “all apologies – the beginning of the end in the 1990s.“
They’ve continued their art practice, working primarily in photomontage, on a series of several found canvases. They live in Berkeley, California with their cat, Scout, and dog, Mouse.