As a teenager, Chris “Daze” Ellis beganhis artistic career tagging subway cars in 1970s New York City. In the years since, Daze has successfully transitioned to the canvas, using spray paint as well as oil and acrylic in his work.
A celebrated painter, Daze brought his talents toAndover as the Addison Gallery of American Art’s Spring 2014 Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence alongside his exhibition, “Street Talk: Chris ‘Daze’ Ellis in Dialogue with the Collection,” which features Daze’s works alongside those in the Addison’s permanent collection.
“I was painting trains from about 1976 to about 1983. 1981 was more or less when opportunities started to happen for me to exhibit my work in galleries, and my first paintings were kind of like an experiment, but it was something that I enjoyed doing and wanted to pursue more. But yeah, the transition [from train to canvas] was kind of slow, and there was even a period at the beginning where I was making paintings as well as continuing to paint trains, but I eventually began to outgrow the whole painting trains thing,” said Daze in an interview with _The Phillipian_.
While Daze’s focus on urban environments hasremained a constant in his art, his work continues to evolve.
“When I first started making paintings, I didn’t want to do the same thing I was doing on trains, except now on canvas. I wanted to explore other areas, and I was pretty open to influences, from film to music to everyday life to travel, and that was all reflected in early work [on canvas.] I think the newer work is a combination of all the things I’ve learned in the past 30 years, but it’s also more refined and concentrated,” said Daze.
In the years that have passed since his early experiences in galleries, Daze has created large-scale murals, and his work has been showcased in numerous exhibitions.
Daze describes “Beyond the Horizon” as surreal and dreamlike, showing a large eye glancing down upon a scene while hands cradle the city of Rochester.