Eley had an Australian father and Chinese mother. In 1981 the family returned to Australia. In 1997 he traveled to the US to attend Westmont College, earning his Bachelor in Fine Arts and captaining the basketball team. In 2002 he moved back to Australia and he now lives in Adelaide with his wife, Rachel.
His work was recently recognized in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (highly commended runner-up in 2010 and highly commended 3rd place in 2011). He was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2012. His debut solo exhibition Singularity recently concluded at Hill Smith Gallery in South Australia.