New York Artist Paints Mural on City Building

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

October 9, 2006

This week, a New York artist is visiting Charlottesville and leaving behind a mural for all of the city to see.

David Ellis is well known for his unique style of art. He likes to paint artwork all over the place, including sides of trucks and buildings.

"It's a mode of working for me that's similar to MC's free-styling or saxophone players improvising," said Ellis.

His visit was sponsored by the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative and is part of the "We People" project that will be going on the entire week.

"This project came about as a best case solution for bringing an artist from far away to do something that could be experienced, while it's happening, it could last once he's gone and could be the basis for stories," said Max Fenton, of the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative.

The story behind the mural is a familiar one. It's life-imitating art. He calls it Flow.

"I was inspired by seeing lava flow into the ocean at night, kind of peering into that and contemplating a force that could equally be both the beginning and the end," said Ellis.

David has an idea of what he wants it to look like, but that could change at any moment.

"One of the best parts of working with improvisers is improvisation. It's not a sign, it's not a billboard, it will be something here to see as long as it is. To be honest I don't know what it will look like," said Fenton.

David just started painting a few hours ago and already, he has drawn a crowd, and that's exactly what he wants.

"I want to effect culture with everything I do," said Ellis.

"If more come and just watch, hang out, share their own stories, share conversations with each other, then we have done a good job to put art in the community," said Fenton.

The group is only allowed to leave the mural there until November. At that time they will ask City Council to let the art work stay.

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