Chris “Daze Ellis: The City is My Muse opens today at the Museum of the City of New York, an exhibit that takes you on a visual journey as Daze moves from painting trains to painting the New York City of his youth on canvas. Readers may remember Mr. Ellis from his group exhibit last year – “City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection” also curated by Sean Corcoran, the Museum’s Curator of Prints and Photographs. Here you will find a familiar and colorful display of paintings, photographs, etchings and ephemera, both recent and earlier work
Chris “Daze” Ellis: The City is My Muse at the Museum of the City of New York
Born in Brooklyn, “Daze” began painting trains in 1976, while at The High School of Art and Design in New York. The work was neither legal nor socially acceptable, but his love and talent for painting the gritty side of New York, along with its subways, brought him to the attention of Sam Esses, an art collector who wanted to introduce the city’s gifted graffiti artists to a studio setting. The following year, “Daze” was in his first group show, “Beyond Words” at the Mudd Club – alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Crash, Zephyr, Lee Quinones and others, where he sold his first work. A year later, he had his first solo show at Fashion Moda in the Bronx.
The exhibit is a mix of original works and recent paintings
“Daze” is one of the few artists from that period to successfully transition from street artist to studio artist. Internationally, he has exhibited in museums and galleries, and completed public art projects including a mural for the Star Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong and designed an entire train station in Hannover, Germany alongside fellow artists Lee Quinones and Crash. His work can be found in the private collections of Madonna and Eric Clapton, to name a few, and in the permanent collections of museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Museum of the City of New York.
Christopher “Daze” Ellis standing in front of The Odyssey (Staten Island Ferry)
“Eastern Parkway” Oil, spray paint, acrylic and wood on canvas
The exhibit, Chris “Daze” Ellis: The City is My Muse will be on view through May 1, 2016. An accompanying event, The City Is My Muse: Artists in Conversation, will take place on December 8 at 6:30 pm at MCNY. The event will feature three leading contemporary artists – Christopher “Daze” Ellis, Jane Dickson and Lee Quinones – in a discussion about how New York City’s environment, culture and daily life have inspired their work. The panel will be moderated by Sean Corcoran, the Museum’s Curator of Prints and Photographs. Scroll down for more works by Daze that you’ll see at the exhibition, and while you’re visiting, do not miss photography exhibit Jacob Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half or Affordable Housing: A New York Legacy.
From the Grey Scale Series of paintings
“On the 4 Line” 2001; “Two Worlds” 2003
Times Square, 2015 Etchings