Chosen Ones

Blue Sky Artist Monster Art


Mural - Mighty Optical Illusion

AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, Taylor St.
(Between Marion and Bull Sts.)
Columbia, SC
Unveiled 1975

 "Tunnelvision is an unbelievably realistic mural painted in 1975 by artist Blue Sky on the wall of the AgFirst Farm Credit Bank. It portrays a highway disappearing through a mountain tunnel and is so life-like that viewers are tempted to drive in. AgFirst Farm Credit Bank commissioned Blue Sky to design a sculpture to commemorate the 25th anniversary of "Tunnelvision". The sculpture, "Busted Plug Plaza", is located on the Taylor side of the bank's property. A second mural, Light at the end of the Tunnel, is located at Hampton and Bull Streets. The mural represents the world on the other side of the tunnel in Tunnelvision."


"Busted Plug Plaza"

AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, Taylor St.
(Between Marion and Bull Sts.)
Columbia, SC
Unveiled February 18, 2001


Integrated Chain Sculpture

Connecting the Sylvan Bros. Building & Kress Building
1500 Block Main Street
Length: 25 feet
Diameter: 5 feet
Installed 2000


"Night Train"

Fort Pierce, Florida
15' x 20'
Unveiled 1995


"Levitating Dumpster"

Mighty Optical Illusions
Temporary Installation Columbia, SC
Exhibited ~2000

 Blue Sky, on "Levitating Dumpster":
"I've always wanted to create an illusion of something huge, floating in space, seemingly unsupported. To pull off the illusion successfully, I had to not tip off people that it was a work of art, therefore, I chose the lowest, most repugnant object on earth - the dumpster. I figured that no one would believe that this was art, so they would believe that what they were seeing was real. It was slimy, greasy, rusty, [with] paint peeling off of it where someone had apparently started a fire inside of it, as dumpsters often have. The warnings, etc., on the surface were carefully researched and duplicated until the patina matched an old beat up dumpster beyond the slightest doubt."


"Wall Grabbers"

Crayton Middle School
Columbia, SC
~ 17' x 50'
Unveiled 1998


"Big Blue Buick"

 Blue Sky is the legal name (formerly Warren Edward Johnson) of an American painter and sculptor best known for his mural, Tunnelvision.
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.

Sky attended the University of South Carolina from 1958 to 1964. During this time, he received instruction from accomplished Ash Can painter Ed Yaghjian. Meanwhile, he sold original works through USC student 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.

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.

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 was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian state honor, for his contributions to the arts - particularly, for painting the state's first large-scale public mural in 1975.
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.




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