Ellis Gallagher is known primarily for chalk drawings made by outlining shadows in New York City. Gallagher was born on September 9, 1973. He is a native New Yorker living in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Before his chalk drawings he was a graffiti writer, working in NYC mostly. He was arrested for this in 1999 and given community service and probation. He stopped doing traditional graffiti writing in 2001 after the death of Hector Ramirez (a friend and writing partner), who was hit by a train while painting in a Brooklyn subway tunnel. Gallagher started his chalk drawing in early 2005, the first drawing being an outline of a fire hydrant after days of being fixated with shadows.
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Gallagher's chalk work are outlines of objects on the street and often outline simple solid shadows, but are most often of bicycles setup in front of an existing light source. Works have lasted as long as a month.
Gallagher was once arrested for drawing and signing his name in chalk. Charges were dropped, but he spent 17 hours in jail for which he is suing the city, claiming false arrest and unlawful imprisonment. Paul Hale, Gallagher's lawyer, claims using chalk on the sidewalk is perfectly legal. Despite the legal ambiguities, his work is perceived in the genre of modern graffiti, or "Street Art."
Ellis Gallagher is a native New Yorker. As a former graffiti writer, his work can be found in New York City and beyond, in Autograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers by Peter Sutherland (Powerhouse Books), in The Street Art Book: 60 Artists In Their Own Words by Ric Blackshaw and Liz Farrelly (Collins Design), also in the art textbook Making Art Connections: Visual Arts years 7 and 8 (McGraw-Hill Education), as well as in numerous newspapers, magazines, on television and in films. Gallagher's work has also appeared in numerous publications and features.
- Brooklyn Museum. Recording of interview with audience at Brooklyn Museum exhibition.
- Personal Conversation with the artist, 2008.
- Mulcahyn, Conrad. "Tracing Shadows" New York Times, December 10, 2005.
- Tucker, Maria Luisa. "Drawn and Quartered: Sidewalk Chalk Artist Fights NYPD Harassment" Village Voice, January 22, 2008.