Elise Ansel was born in New York City and lives and works in Portland, Maine. She received a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University in 1984. While in Providence, she studied art at both Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design. She earned an MFA in Visual Art from Southern Methodist University in 1993. Ansel has exhibited international including at the Royal Academy, the Parrish Art Museum most recently her Museum exhibition Distant Mirrors, at Bowdoin College Museum of Art.