Ellen van Spyk has an MFA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and has taught throughout the UH system. She was an assistant professor of art at UH Hilo. Her interest in Hawaiian imagery began when she lived on Molokai's east end during the early 1970s. Her interpretation of Hawaiian culture and landscapes can be found in many permanent collections including the state foundation on culture and the arts. She writes and works in the painting and sculptural media.