Ezra Arsenault grew up in Southwest Virginia amongst the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. They received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ezra assisted Oliver Jeffers with a performance of The Dipped Painting Projects at Mana Contemporary Gallery and Joseph Ravens with an iteration of Condom Cloud at Art AIDS America Chicago. After completing the Apprentice Program with Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Ezra went on to document many performances for the gallery including Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival. As a performance artist, they have participated in the show Piss and Vinegar at Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery and their work for Power Ouch Performance Festival at Links Hall was highlighted by See Chicago Dance. Ezra is the Print Production Director and an Artistic Direction Editor at Black Widow Books, a global residency program and art + publishing house. They are a founder and the Director of Holly and The Neighbors, a Chicago Based Community of Artists and Curatorial Collective.



Polyps, moldy leftovers, wet soapy clay, air pocketed muscle, algae, a pile of intestines, trash, rotten pumpkin, orange peel, dust, cells, surrogate flesh. That which is bodily, dirty. That is how I would describe my visual interest. And with this language of the gross, I like to describe moments of inarticulable worry. Language fails to grasp at gut feelings, therefore I replace them with textures to make you hyper-aware of your internal organs. Some of my works I imagine to be wholly new organs for the processing of gut feelings. Others I see as homunculan representations of bodies flipped inside out. I find beauty in things that have dense collections of dents, peaks, valleys, rocks, and water across their surface. I am concerned with making these horrifying images not only palatable but beautiful.





2018; BFA with Honors; School of the Art Iinstitute of Chicago; Chicago, IL


2020; Artist-In-Resident; Black Widow Books; Chicago, IL

Work Experience

2019-present; Founder, Director, and Head Curator; Holly and The Neighbors; Chicago, IL
2020-present; Print Production Manager and Artistic Direction Editor; Black   Widow Books; Chicago, IL
2017-present; Documentarian; Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery; Chicago, IL
2018-19; Photographer; Vaudezilla Burlesque; Chicago, IL

2018; Videographer; MOCREP Performance Collective; Chicago, IL

2017-18; Documentation Intern; ACRE Projects Gallery; Chicago, IL
2016-17; Apprentice; Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery; Chicago, IL
2016; Artist Assisant; Mana Contemporary Gallery; Chicago, IL

Awards and Honors

2014, Phi Beta Kappa Book Award, Virginia Tech   
2014, Presidential Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago   


2020; Exhibiting Artist; Open 5.0; Slate Arts; Chicago, IL
2020; Exhibitiing Artist; Kissing Booth; Holly and The Neighbors; Chicago, IL
2019; Performing Artist; Power Ouch; Links Hall; Chicago, IL

2016; Assistant Performer; Art AIDS America Chicago; Chicago, IL