"Chicken Man" flies the coop: Cold weather pushes outdoor artist inside

By Stewart Moore - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For ten years, Ernest "The Chicken Man" Lee has been painting works of art in Columbia. No matter if it rains or snows, hot or cold, Lee has been everywhere. But Wednesday morning's cold air may have finally pushed him indoors.

The Chicken Man may have finally flown his coop and headed indoors. "I've seen it cold, but not this cold," said Lee. "This is about the coldest probably ever."

Lee has packed his art and moved it to Whaley Street, near the corner with Assembly. Most of his classic paintings still line his storage facility, but the artist doesn't paint outdoors in bad weather anymore, like he did this summer when our cameras caught him painting in 100 plus degree temperatures.

"Riding around, you knew I'd be outside," said Lee. "'Lets go with the Chicken Man. He's always out. Hardest working in show business.'"

As much as Lee was happy to move indoors, he had to face one fear -- leaving behind some of his most loyal customers. "A lot of my fans don't know I'm here yet, but the sales are probably a little better," he said. "Once they find out where I'm at, I'll probably do a lot better with it."

If there's one thing you can say about Ernest "The Chicken Man" Lee, he's resilient. And no matter what, when the sun comes up, his shop will be open -- indoors or out.

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