Chris “Daze” Ellis “Stayhigh 149” Signed and dated 2012, measures approx. 18”x24”
watercolor on arches paper.
Gordon Wayne Roberts created the tag Stay High 149, combined it with a smoking, halo-adorned stick man he borrowed from The Saint television show and changed the face of graffiti. It's hard to imagine a trip through the subway system in early 70's without seeing his name a dozen times. Changing to his secondary alias, voice of the ghetto, around 1974 , ,he introduced the world to two and three toned markers that spewed rainbows of psychedelic cool. After a 25 year disappearance , a time during which many assumed him dead, he reappeared at a graff show in 2000 and soon launched a comeback that gave a new generation a chance to know and love his work. His tags had the rarest combination of style and meaning I've ever witnessed . High Maintenance is about paying back one of the most inspirational , yet humble cats to ever wield a marker. His spirit and legacy has touched every era of a culture that's blown up world wide. The artists who so generously donated their work for this benefit are giving their collective thanks to a man who transcended graffiti culture and in time be remembered as an American Folk Hero. All net proceeds from this sale will go to Stayhigh's Family.
Chris Daze Ellis began his prolific career painting the gritty New York subways in the mid 70′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. His first group show was the “Beyond Words” show held at the Mudd club in New York in 1981.
Showing alongside artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Daze sold his first work, an impromptu collaboration with Basquiat, from this show.
His first solo show was held a year later in 1982 at Fashion Moda, a gallery in the Bronx.
Since then he has had countless solo shows 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. Some of them include completing a mural for the Star ferry terminal in Hong Kong, lectures at Hofstra university and the Bronx Museum, completing the design of 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.
His work can be found in the permanent collections of such museums as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of the City of New York, The Groninger Museum in the Netherlands and The Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany.
Daze continues to live and work in New York City.