The son of Minnesota artist and University professor William J Ellingson (1933-1994), TyRuben spent his childhood in his father’s studio engaged in drawing, painting, and the construction of cardboard “machines”.
While completing his Master’s degree at St. Cloud State University, Ellingson taught drawing and design courses at the university and exhibited his paintings in regional and national shows.
His Master of Fine Arts degree was completed in 1988 at Southern Methodist University.
Combining his fine art successes with a life long interest in film, Ellingson landed a position at George Lucas’ Industrial, Light and Magic in 1989 as a Visual Effects Art Director. While at ILM, Ellingson contributed to the creation of ground-breaking special effects in films such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars: A New Hope (1997 Special Edition), The Flintstones, Casper, and Disclosure.
In 1995, Ellingson accepted an invitation by Director Guillermo Del Toro to act as principal designer of the signature creature for his horror thriller, Mimic.
In the years that followed, Del Toro would call on TyRuben often, tapping him to provide designs for Blade 2, Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and most recently, Pacific Rim.
In 2006, Ellingson joined the team at Lightstorm to work as lead vehicle designer for Director James Cameron’s science-fiction epic, Avatar.
Other films to which he has lent his creative talents include Blade Trinity, Signs, Surrogates, Priest, Battle: Los Angeles, and Neill Blomkamp’s science fiction action adventure, Elysium.