Addison Updates Archive

Chris Daze Ellis, Spring 2014 Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence


A member of the “second generation” of New York graffiti artists, Chris Ellis—best known by his street name, Daze—has been hailed as one of the most important ‘writers’ of his time. Turning his focus to canvas in the early 1980s, Daze has been one of the most successful graffiti artists of his generation to transition from street to studio. This spring, he has been serving as the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art, where his work will be on view through July 31 in the exhibition Street Talk: Chris Daze Ellis in Dialogue with the Collection.

For his residency, Daze began working with Eric Allshouse’s mural class at Lawrence High School on March 31, beginning with a visit to the students’ classroom to introduce himself and share his work. He discussed growing up in New York City and learning about art from his peers as well as his instructors at the High School for Arts and Design. The group then moved to the Artist’s Studio on the Abbot campus at Phillips Academy, where, with Daze’s guidance, they began brainstorming ideas for their paintings, with Daze sharing a variety of images of works from the Addison’s collection and the students researching images of Lawrence. Since then, groups of students have worked collaboratively to capture the essence of Lawrence in their paintings, including imagery of Lawrence’s rich architectural history. The four canvases will be on view in the exhibition Street Talk.

Daze has also been working with Emily Trespas’ painting class and Therese Zemlin’s advanced studio art class at Phillips Academy. Over a series of class periods, Daze and the painting students have transformed the wall in the Elson Art Center outside the Addison’s Museum Learning Center with a mural depicting scenes of life at Phillips Academy. Under Daze’s expert tutelage, students had a lively discussion of the imagery to include, drew the outline for their mural, and engaged in a series of energizing and truly collaborative painting sessions set to music. With the mural finished, Daze has now joined the advanced studio art students in creating a painting that will be featured in the spring student art show in Gelb Gallery.

See Daze collaborating with Lawrence High School students:

More images of Daze working with students: