Chas Davis Rambling Bio

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    Let's face it, you just can't go wrong with a baby picture. When I first started teaching, a baby picture was just the thing to break the ice and get started. I have been looking at a lot of pictures lately, it's helpful to step back and consider all the things that happened between the first picture(1 year old) and the latest picture(taken last summer, 2008). I mean, who wants to read about me? I'm flattered that you are spending your valuable time reading about me, but consider writing your own bio! Get to work!




   I began painting at a very young age and eventually attended design school at Ball State University in Indiana. In my second year of school there I went out to Arizona to study and live at Arcosanti, the experimental community north of Phoenix based on the visionary architecture and ideas of Paolo Soleri. There I made friends with several artists from New York City, my first exposure to "serious" artists. I didn't return to school, but got a job on the Penn Central Railroad (later to become Conrail) instead, working between Chicago and Ohio, and later between Boston and Albany. This is where I got my real art education, meeting people, visiting studios, and attending sessions at the Art Student's League in New York.cwarco.jpg


126 Columbia Street in Ft. Wayne, my first big studio and home of the Dock Street artist's group, which I was involved with from 1981 to 1985.


Dock Street Artists group-I'm 2nd from left.

    I I travelled around the country, hitchhiking, working at carnivals and festivals, and in 1981 came back to my home town of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I joined the Dock St. artists, a cooperative studio in an unheated building on the Landing in downtown Ft. Wayne. (Click on photo at left to read the 1983 article of our first group exhibition) At the same time I became an apprentice to Master Printmaker Craig Steketee at his shop, Stonetraces. There I learned the crafts of etching and lithography, and did my own work as well as helping other artists produce prints. Craig closed his shop to move to California, but before he did we spent the summer building etching presses to sell and raise money for the move. After Craig left I opened my own shop and studio, Toxic Press.

     I  continued to work on the railroad, but eventually came back to Indiana, where I opened my studio in downtown Ft. Wayne at 814 1/2 So. Calhoun St. My friend Randy had bought the building and invited me to move the studio there, and when the ground floor became free, he urged me to turn it into a gallery. I did, and called it ATDE Studio/ Gallery. ATDE stood for Art That Doesn't Exist, a loose reference to the concept of Plato's cave, and also to the distance between concept and realization, especially in printmaking processes.

Below: Original ATDE Studio, Grand Opening poster, yours truly, circa 1992, friends at open house, and painted.



Icy Red, 1987, oil and encaustic on canvas, Lincoln National Life collection

French Post Card, 1989

    Bear with me for a moment, because these pictures are related, beginning with the painting above, Icy Red. It was painted in 1987, and is oil and encaustic on canvas, about 4 feet by five feet. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Ft. Wayne, Indiana purchased it way back then in order to help me go to Paris and exhibit in a show there in 1989. Actually there were four of us-Gregg Coffey, David Kastner, David Krouse, and myself. We had a great time, but I had such mixed feelings about the show that I have practically avoided group shows ever since. I think it started at the opening, when people just parked themselves at the fabulous food tables and didn't move until they were stuffed full. Then it all went downhill from there, except the Canadian artists were great fun, and the French people-they are truly fantastic!

    We were on the way to the Eros Museum and passed  this duo napping on the sidewalk, so I posed with them(I'm on the left), and turned the photo into my French Souvenir postcard. Of course we went to the Louvre and all that, and it was very cool to see so much famous art live and in person. Among other things, the surfaces and monumentality just don't translate in the history books. I wanted to say something especially about Delacroix and Gericault since I was so impressed and later influenced by their painting, but now I'm having the strange sensation that I have dreamed this before, and in the dream it was a big mistake to write about Delacroix and Gericault, so I'll stop here.

    Two years later, in the summer of 1992, John and Guy opened the very fancy Bagatelle Bistro and Bar, and I got the commission to do the large centerpiece painting for the reastaurant, with vital technical assistance from David Kastner. Although the restaurant has changed owners, the painting has stayed-because it was too big

Chops Steak & Seafood-Click on the picture to go to their web site

Ito get through the door! The new owners, Chuck and Kara Pastor, have created a very warm and friendly environment, and have renamed it Chops. I recently took my mother there-April 9 to be exact-she had never seen the painting in person. The painting goes so well with the restaurant's interior and menu-colorful, whimsical, and very classy! I had the Prime Rib, which was fantastic. Chuck asked about the meaning of the painting, since people ask him about it. At the time I told him that I prefer that people have the joy of discovery when they figure out what it is about, but I could have mentioned that the meaning of the painting would be obvious to anybody with a basic knowledge of Anasazi mythology. So if you are ever going by exit 102 on I-69 through Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Chops is only a few minutes east at 6421 West Jefferson Blvd. and I highly recommend it! Click on the painting above to go to Chops web site.

Much more  coming soon . . .


Left to right, Louis Perticone-the Vince Lombardi of Art, St. Louis to Iowa-acrylic,collage, and found objects on paper, (collection Artisan Works), yours truly in the ATDE Studio on Cascade Drive in Rochester, and at Artisan Works.