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Encyclopedia > Blue Sky (artist)

Blue Sky is the legal name (formerly Warren Edward Johnson) of an American painter and sculptor best known for his mural, Tunnelvision. Painting by Rembrandt self-portrait Detail from Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, in which the painter portrayed himself at work For the computer graphics program, see Corel Painter. ... Sculptor redirects here. ... Salle des illustres, ceiling painting, by Jean André Rixens. ...



Blue Sky was born on September 18, 1938 in Columbia, South Carolina as Warren Edward Johnson. In 1954, his first foray into art won him a national poster competition, two years before he graduated from Dreher High School. For the next six years, he served as a jet air craft technician in the Air National Guard, 169th Cameron Squad, while working several different jobs to pay for college – as a parade float builder, a layout artist, and a dance instructor, among others. Official language(s) English Capital Charleston(1670-1789) Columbia(1790-present) Largest city Columbia Largest metro area Greenville-Spartanburg Area  Ranked 40th  - Total 34,726 sq mi (82,965 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 260 miles (420 km)  - % water 6  - Latitude 32°430N to 35°12... Shield of the United States Air National Guard The Air National Guard (ANG) is part of the United States National Guard and a reserve component of the United States Air Force (USAF). ...

Sky attended the University of South Carolina from 1958 to 1964, during which time he sold original works through USC art auctions at McMaster College. At the Springs Mills Show in 1964, in which over 700 artists participated, he was judged "best of show" by Henry Geldzahler, then curator of modern art at the Metropolitan Museum. Sky was then invited to study at the Art Students League of New York, where he lived and worked for the next year. An 1872 illustration of the Horseshoe, USCs original campus. ... Henry Geldzahler (1935-1994) was a well-known curator of contemporary art in the late 20th century. ... There is also the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), located in Manhattan. ... The Art Students League of New York is an art school founded in 1875. ...

Upon moving back to Columbia in 1966, Sky worked as a draftsman and conceptual artist for Wilbur Smith & Associates before returning to USC for graduate school. In 1970, he graduated, earning a Master of Education, because the university had not yet been certified to award a Master of Fine Arts. The Master of Education (M.Ed or M.A.E.) is a degree conferred by American institutions for educators moving on in their field. ... For alternate uses, see MFA (disambiguation). ...

In 1974, Sky legally changed his name from Warren Edward Johnson to Blue Sky. He signed paintings before this year with the abbreviation "WAR."

In 2000, Sky received the "Order of the Palmetto" - South Carolina's highest civilian state honor.


Sky has been solely supported by his art since 1970. Although he is perhaps best known for his public art, many of his public projects are self-funded, and his living is earned primarily through the sale of original artwork through the Blue Sky Gallery in Five Points. Blue Sky Gallery opened in 1981, and it has displayed his artwork exclusively since 1989. It is owned and operated by his wife, Lynn Sky. Five Points in Columbia, South Carolina is a shopping, restaurant, and nightlife area that attracts customers from the nearby University of South Carolina and throughout the Columbia metropolitan area. ...

Tunnelvision (1975)

Tunnelvision (1975) by Blue Sky. AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, Columbia, SC.
Tunnelvision (1975) by Blue Sky. AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, Columbia, SC.

Sometime after graduating, Sky took an interest in painting a mural on the wall of the Federal Land Bank in Columbia. He applied to the South Carolina Arts Commission several times before they accepted his concept design for Tunnelvision and told him to approach the Federal Land Bank for funding. The bank refused to fund the project, but agreed to grant him permission to use the wall on the condition that he wasn't a communist (see: Diego Rivera). This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo (photographer: Carl Van Vechten) Diego Rivera (born December 8, 1886 in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico – died November 24, 1957)), full name Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez) was a cubist painter...

Sky claims that the idea for Tunnelvision appeared to him in a dream (thus the title). Although the work is technically rendered in trompe-l'œil style, Sky intended the mural to have a spiritual impact as well; a 'window' to transcendental reality. Sky has restored and fully repainted the mural five times, and each version has featured at least one new element to extend the metaphor; for example, the most recent addition, a street sign which reads, "One Way." Trompe-lÅ“il mural on building in Narbonne, France. ...

Tunnelvision may be regarded as Sky's masterpiece in the classical sense, because the mural is both part of his juvenilia and the work which has earned him the widest recognition, starting with an article in the February 1976 issue of People Magazine. Originally, the term masterpiece (or chef doeuvre) referred to a piece of handicraft art produced by a journeyman aspiring to become a master craftsman in the old European guild system, which is partially retained today only in Germany. ... People, a weekly magazine of celebrity and popular culture news, debuted on February 27, 1974. ...

Public Murals

  • Tunnelvision - AgFirst Farm Credit Bank - Columbia, SC (1975)
  • Moonlight on the Great Pee Dee - John L. McMillan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse - Florence, SC (1978)
  • Overflow Parking - Flint Journal Building - Flint, MI (1978)
  • Winter Beach - Sumter, SC (1980)
  • Spirit of the Air - Charlotte, NC (1982)
  • Incident at the Kirkwood Inn - Camden, SC (1982)
  • Old Darlington Public Square - Bicentennial mural - Darlington, SC (1985)
  • The River Jordan - Three Fountains Church - Springdale, SC (1987)
  • Full Moon Over the River Jordan - New Hope Church - Pelion, SC (1988)
  • Gervais Street Extension - South Carolina State Museum - Columbia, SC (1989)
  • Five Points - 1948 - Harper's Restaurant - Columbia, SC (1991)
  • Man Escapes - Satchel Ford Elementary School - Columbia, SC (1994)
  • Partly Cloudy - Azzurro's Restaurant - Richmond, VA (1994)
  • University of South Carolina - USC Visitors Center - Columbia, SC (1994)
  • Night Train - Fort Pierce, FL (1995)
  • Cayce Historical Museum Mural - Cayce, SC (1996)
  • Overflow - Crayton Middle School - Columbia, SC (1997)
  • Adopt Us - Animal Shelter mural and sculpture - Columbia, SC (1999)
  • The Other Side of the Tunnel - AgFirst Farm Credit Bank - Columbia, SC (2000)
  • Congaree Swamp - Congaree Swamp National Monument Federal Park - Columbia, SC (2002)

Public Sculptures

  • This is not a tree - Columbia Steel Palmetto Tree - Columbia, SC (2000)
  • NEVERBUST - Main Street - Columbia, SC (2000)
  • Busted Plug Plaza - AgFirst Farm Credit Bank - Columbia, SC (2001)
  • Ped-Xing - Richland Cultural Council doors project - Richland County, SC (2002)
  • Kawasakisaurus - South Carolina Bank and Trust - Columbia, SC (2003)

External links

  • Blue Sky Gallery website
  • Biography of Blue Sky



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