Meet your Meats (Keeping with Tradition) by Dana Ellyn

Dana Ellyn, Meet your Meats (Keeping with Tradition), 30”x40”, oil on canvas


My recent painting “Meet your Meats (Keeping with Tradition)” (oil on canvas, 2017) was first inspired by a photo of my grandmother-in-law affectionally standing in front of a recent set of apple pies she made during a family gathering in the 1950’s. I replaced most of the pies with traditional American food that still relies heavily on a meat-based diet. It is almost as if the traditional meals of the 50’s, when fewer Americans suffered from obesity and food-related illnesses, were healthier, albeit equally ‘meat based’, than today’s. In keeping with ’tradition’, Americans are encouraged to eat meat during family gatherings, even though the meats of this century are more processed and injected with a host of non-disclosed chemicals. Meat today is less healthy and growing more inhumane in some ways as factory farms grow. Thankfully, there is also a growing consciousness about the horrors of the meat industry but meat eating traditions are hard to break. It is obvious through my depiction that I am showing some of the animals as ‘alive’ and walking amongst the dishes in order to break the illusion that eating meat is distanced from killing animals. The family dog pokes his head up to the level of the table to ask, am I next?

Dana Ellyn is a DC resident and full-time painter who lives and paints in her studio in a subsidized artist housing unit in downtown Washington DC. Ellyn committed herself to full-time status in 2002 when she decided to leave her corporate job and pursue painting. Her work is exemplified by a risk-taking vision, strong content, and colorful critiques of social norms. Her work has been featured and collected by DC history buffs, animal rights activists, and a growing number of art enthusiasts around the globe.  With recent solo exhibitions in Australia, Spain, and Morocco as well as having a painting featured during a year-long exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Ellyn is one of DC’s most successful rising art stars.Ellyn’s style sits on the fence between social realism and expressionism. Having spent her childhood and college years honing her skills and striving to be technically correct, she’s spent the past 20 years unlearning those restrictive habits. Ellyn strives to infuse more emotion and meaning in to each new painting she creates. She’s currently focusing her energy on creatively asking the question in her paintings; why do we love some animals and eat others?

From childhood until about the age of 30, Ellyn was quiet and reserved. She has since found her voice and she is making up for lost time.

You can follow her ever-growing portfolio at