Elise Ansel was born in New York City. She received a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University in 1984. While at Brown, she studied art at both Brown and RISD. She worked briefly in the film industry before deciding to make painting her first order medium. She earned her MFA in Visual Art from Southern Methodist University in 1993. Elise has exhibited her work all over the United States and in Europe. She is currently represented by Danese/Corey in New York, Ellsworth Gallery in Santa Fe, and Cadogan Contemporary in London.