In ART

  Chris “Daze” Ellis’ New York paintings hark back to his graffiti artist past

He started out as a graffiti artist, painting trains when he was a teenager, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Christopher Ellis, who gained notoriety under his street name “Daze,” has since become a studio artist and is now exhibiting his colorful, riveting paintings at the Museum of the City of New York.

Chris “Daze” Ellis View From Across the Tracks 2013 Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis
View From Across the Tracks, 2013. Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis The 7 Yard 2011 Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis
The 7 Yard, 2011. Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist

In a new show titled “The City Is My Muse” and curated by Sean Corcoran, Curator of Prints and Photographs at the City Museum, Ellis showcases powerful, visually captivating paintings of iconic New York locations, including Times Square, Coney Island, the subway system and the Staten Island Ferry. What sets Ellis’ paintings apart is the very evident influence that graffiti art has on his work: bold strokes that overwhelm the canvas, much like graffiti overwhelms city streets, and a constant feeling of motion, as if Ellis is capturing an ephemeral moment in time that has already disappeared from a city’s memory.

Chris “Daze” Ellis Cyclone Drop 2011 Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis
Cyclone Drop, 2011. Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis The Odyssey 2015 Oil and spray paint on canvas Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis
The Odyssey, 2015. Oil and spray paint on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist

“Daze’s paintings are unique in their fusion of street style and easel painting,” says Corcoran. “His paintings are imbued with the memory of the New York of his youth, but remain unbound by nostalgia.”

“The City Is My Muse” is on view until May 1 at the Museum of the City of New York.

Chris “Daze” Ellis The Voyage of Giuseppi Logan 2014 Oil on canvas Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis
The Voyage of Giuseppi Logan, 2014. Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis Queensboro Plaza 2010 Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the Artist

Chris “Daze” Ellis
Queensboro Plaza, 2010. Oil, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist

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