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What is your ideal office?


My ideal office would consist of a very open space with a huge skylight to allow for sunlight. I wouldn’t need an amazing view because that would allow for a lot of daydreaming. Nothing would get done.


Is New York your city?


Absolutely! New York is not just my city but it’s also my muse! Hence the title for my current show at The Museum of The City of New York, Chris “Daze” Ellis: The City is My Muse.


What idea has made a remarkable impression on you?


I love the idea of Kickstarter. It’s people taking control of their destiny and not waiting for approval. If you have a good idea, and a good cause, people will support you. If not, you’ll know real quick.


How would you like to be remembered?


I’d like to be remembered most of all for my art. Not just paintings but all of it, murals, working with kids, et cetera. I’m not sure how much I actually influence people but I’ve been told that I’ve inspired many. That alone gives me great satisfaction because I feel as if I’ve ignited a spark.


What is your most treasured belonging?


My wife and two sons.


What is one career highlight that sticks out to you?


There are many but I distinctly remember having a solo show in Monte Carlo in the late 1980s. I really felt on top of the world at that moment. 


If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?


I would have loved to learn to master a musical instrument. I love music and it’s a big source of inspiration for me. It guides me through whatever it is that I’m doing.


When have you made the wrong decision?


Sometimes by placing my trust in the wrong person.


What grosses you out?


Large egos with very little substance.


Who would you come back as in your next life?


An Eagle.


Why the tag Daze?


Why not? It’s just something I made up in high school that stuck with me since. It seems to fit even more than my given name.


Who is an artist people might be surprised to hear inspires you?

I love Tiepolo and Veronese, but Caravaggio the most.


What changes have you witnessed in art?


I notice that art has become more about the process and less about the search. It’s also become much more of a business. What that means is that artists are thinking of themselves more as brands or as mini corporations. I really respect the person that’s working to the beat of their own drum in the studio, with very few assistants. In this day and age there is something to be said for that. In the thirty years that I’ve had a studio practice, I’ve never had an assistant. I’ve worked with people on a project basis but never a full-time assistant. That might have to change soon though. 

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