Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Folk Art Chickens: outsider artist “Chicken Man” Ernest Lee

Wise words of Ernest Lee:

About Ernest Lee from

Famous for “The Chicken Man”, Ernest Lee has captured the eye of many people and artist alike through out South Carolina and the Eastern Seaboard. Ernest Lee is a native of South Carolina and is well known for his “Folk Art”. He has occupied the corner of Gervais Street and Harden Street in Columbia, South Carolina for many years, where his patrons have visited the part flea market, part wishing well, and “The Den”, to purchase the famed “Chicken Art”.

Ernest likes to say he has been painting since 1966 and can be found on the street corner almost seven days a week. “I paint every day", Ernest says. “Someone walks up and request a painting: chickens, palmetto trees, etc. I’ll do some things right on the spot.” Ernest is a self taught quasi-local legend in Columbia, a college town who’s pride is the USC Gamecocks, helping keep his trademark “Chicken Paintings” in high demand.

Over the years Ernest has thought of many opportunities and finally realized he can take his art from “Wood to Cotton”. Ernest said, "How great it would be to see my art on people.” And now you have Ernest Lee Tees. With many designs and art in the works, Ernest's forward thinking is looking to be in everyone’s household, whether on the wall or hanging in the closet.

Ernest can be found at 1239 Harden Street, 10am - 6pm Monday through Saturday (and some Sundays).

“Painting is a privilege and a blessing", he says. "I consider it the best job."

These paintings were completed pre covid this time last year as a fun whimsical lesson. As we had to pivot to Distance Learning this post just got pushed back, but it makes me really happy and I wanted to share!

Have you ever heard of the Chicken Man? His real name is Ernest Lee. You can learn more about him at this link: 

You can also follow him on Facebook:

Here are a few other websites to find information on him:

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