Taxi Ride Uptown

Chris DAZE Ellis
June – September, 2011
Woodward Gallery Project Space

From 1981-1992, I lived in the East Village. That period of time seems short, a mere 10 years or so, but in reality I crammed enough life experiences during that time for several lifetimes. I loved living in the East Village then. It was always crowded, but somehow it was more artist friendly. You could have some crummy job somewhere and still come home and do your art. Things were more homegrown then and people, especially creative people, had to invent their own reality. One thing that I think hasn’t changed is that you can still find some of the best food in the city in the East Village and L.E.S. Years ago I would never cook, because I never had to. I could always find something good and cheap to eat…so much for the myth of the starving artist.

In the early 90’s I moved uptown so that I could be closer to my studio in the Bronx. I still came back downtown whether it’s to eat a great dinner somewhere or just to hang. Taxi Ride Uptown is about those fleeting moments in a late night cab ride back home. I loved looking out the window and watching how the landscape of the city changed on my way back uptown. Those fleeting moments were visually very inspiring.

– Chris Daze Ellis 2011


Chris Daze Ellis began his prolific career painting the gritty New York subways in the mid-1970’s while attending the High School of Art & Design. He is one of the few artists from that period to make the successful transition from the subways to the studio.

Exhibiting alongside Artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, in the now legendary group show “Beyond Words” at the Mudd Clubb in 1981, Daze sold his first painting, an impromptu collaboration with Basquiat.

Daze’s premiere solo show was held a year later in 1982 at Fashion Moda, a gallery in the Bronx. Since then he has had countless solo exhibitions in such cities as Monte Carlo, Hong Kong, Paris, New York, Beijing, Chicago, and Singapore. His work has also been included in numerous group shows and museum surveys internationally. Alongside these museum and gallery exhibitions Daze has also completed many public art projects over the years: a mural for the Star Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong; lectures at Hofstra University and the Bronx Museum; has designed an entire train station in Hannover, Germany alongside fellow artists Lee Quinones and Crash; youth workshops with kids during the Hutuz festival in Rio de Janeiro; and completing a mural for the Vivo City shopping center in Singapore. Daze’s paintings have found themselves in the private collections of Madonna and Eric Clapton among others.

Chris Daze Ellis’s work can be found in the permanent collections of such museums around the world including MOMA, New York; The Brooklyn Museum; The Museum of the City of New York; The Groninger Museum, Netherlands; and The Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany. Daze continues to live and work in New York City.

Panel History