Desert Sun: Young Valley Artist Finds Joy in Gallery

Stacy Wiedmaier • The Desert Sun

Christopher Dailey in the WindowPalm Springs artist Christopher S. Dailey had his first gallery showing at age 11 in San Juan Capistrano when he was in the fourth grade. His paintings of angels sold out immediately.

Sitting in the Incredible Artist gallery in downtown Palm Springs, now age 22, his clothes covered in paint splatters, he laughs about how his career is blossoming.

“When I was kid, art was not an apparent calling in my life,” he said Monday. “I would come home after school and paint but I just thought it was fun and what I did in my free time. But once I started, it was something I could never get away from.”

A 2003 graduate of Desert Hot Springs High School, he has painted in areas such as Atlanta, Missouri, Memphis and Cyprus, where he studied art.

And now, returning to the desert, he said he will paint his next creation in the midst of public view.

For more than 300 hours spread across the next eight weeks, Dailey said he will use multiple materials such as ink, pencil, charcoal, oil and acrylic to paint “The Overcomer” in the gallery’s large picture window.

“I’m using myself as the model and incorporating my experiences over the last two years in a metaphorical sense,” he said.

“Doing this public painting and my art in general is about experience,” said Dailey. “I’m always trying to communicate with the viewer through my work, I want them to feel something when they look at it.”

One thing passersby may never guess is what material Dailey is using to paint “The Overcomer” on.

It’s not a newly obtained stretch of canvas, but instead the drop cloth that has covered his home studio floor for the past two years. “I’ve wanted to use this as my canvas for some time,” he said.

Gallery owner Rick Pantele calls Dailey “ahead of his time and an exceptional young talent.”

“The most incredible artists are under the age of 20, because they’re still unjaded,” said Pantele, “or they’re over the age of 60 because they have more time and they’re wiser with a real story to tell.”

Dailey is no exception. He began painting privately commissioned murals in Coachella Valley homes during high school. He has worked for local business owners, dignitaries, and even a movie star. Several public murals appear at Stone Eagle Golf Club in Palm Desert.

“Because I’m designing for them, I talk to my clients, study their home’s dcor and what they’re wearing to get a sense of who they are,” he said. “I want my mural to live with the house for years to come.”

And about the Hollywood starlet who commissioned him to paint a mural, it was for Scarlett Johansson’s La Quinta residence. Was he fortunate enough to meet her in passing?

“I saw her elbow one afternoon as she drove away in her car,” he said laughing.

If You Go

To view Christopher Dailey’s progressing work of art for the next eight weeks, visit the gallery at 333 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 101A in the Amado Center. Information: 325-5917 for more information.

He will paint 9 to 11 a.m. Friday through Wednesday and 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.