Chase Hall Talks "saturday-mornings", Barack Obama, & Social Justice
Chase Hall is an artist living in Manhattan whose work centers on conversations of race, inequality, and social justice. He works with a variety of mediums such as photography, painting, mixed media, drawing, and installation. In 2017, Hall showcased his work internationally for the first time; here’s betting 2018 will bring even bigger news from this creative. Keep your eyes peeled, and in the mean time, read our Q&A with the artist below.
What is your daily routine?
Walk Paisley my great dane, then for the first half of the day I am out in the streets taking photos and the second half of the day I’m in the studio.
How did you transition from photos to other mediums of art such as your painting, illustration, poetry, sculptures, and multimedia projects?
All forms of art started for me before I was aware of what “art” was. The reason it has expanded is because I’ve allowed myself to think and live as an artist rather than just a photographer who did other stuff on the side. As a photographer the work is very literal and it tells its own narrative, but through other mediums I am able to tell a larger story and let my own self be vulnerable and share some of my struggles and intellectual property.
How do each of these different mediums help you tell a different narrative?
I believe the different mediums serve as tools to help articulate what I’m trying to share with the world. A screwdriver can’t pull out a nail. Whether it’s a camera, paint brush, or computer, they all serve as tools to share and help explain what I find extremely important.
What is the goal of your art?
To help people learn or unlearn, to help reshape and build a stronger social attention. I want my work to be a catalyst for critical thinking and begin to speed up the dissipation of societies racist sub conscious. We all need to stop dragging our feet in this march towards true equality.
Your art brings up a conversation of social justice and inequality—how did you decide “artist” as a career path to help mend the social issues going on today?
Arts & culture has always been on the forefront of change, that excites me. The corruption of power & money trickles down into all other industries. Once I was aware of the sad realities of the business/political world I decided I couldn’t allow myself to be another pawn in an old families game. You can fail following your dream, you can also fail fulfilling someone else’s. Life is to temporal to spend my days doing something that doesn’t ignite the fire inside of me. I’m not interested in making money off of others health or perpetuating this handicapped/racist society we are all sinking in. Art is the closest I have come to answering and sharing what I was asking to myself.
All around your studio you have objects you have found with different racial caricatures such as Mammy—when and why did you start collecting these?
I am a product of the slave trade, my last name has been changed more than my family knows and I don’t have the slightest clue of where my people come from. I started collecting old ephemera about four years ago to help understand erasure and showcase these frightening wedges that were put in place to allow segregation and hate to snowball into the world we live today. So much racial literacy is unearthed when you actually do the research. I find that collecting things society is trying to hide is important. Re-introducing a old everyday item with a new meaning or understanding is also important. It allows you to dissect and understand how racism has come to fruition. I travel all around the U.S and internationally looking for these relics of the past. My collecting and sourcing has allowed me to understand the landscape we call home and the wool that has been pulled over everyones eyes for hundreds of years.
Who has been your biggest source of inspiration that you know personally?
Bryan Spunt, He is truly one of a kind. We push each other and allow each other to bounce ideas/brain storm a lot. He is an entrepreneur and philanthropist and luckily enough we have known each other since we were 14. His father Howard was a huge mentor for me and was always dawning wisdom on us little groms back then. When I was 15 I worked at Starbucks and Howard told me “chase everyday you go into work, you work your ass off, if your brooming, you better be the best in the room with a broom, if you’re taking out the trash, you better be the best trash taker outer they have ever seen” those words stuck with me and has allowed my personal work ethic and ambition to evolve.
Who has been your biggest source of inspiration that you do not know personally?
Barack Obama, I was able to see a Black Man become the president of the United States of America. That to me is proof that we can do whatever we truly want and work hard to achieve.
You recently had your first solo show in New York – can you tell us about that?
Yeah, it was titled glory glory and it was a photo and video exhibition. I try and spearhead a lot of my own projects to help learn and understand the elements of this industry outside of creating. I worked with the curator Emie Diamond and we had an idea and didn’t stop till we pulled it off.
You also recently had a show at the DEPART foundation. How did that go?
Yeah, the show was titled saturday-mornings and it’s up and running till December 31st. This show was super important to me as I started working on this body of work back in 2013 and have kept all of my research, work, ephemera, etc under lock and key. I wanted to make sure the opportunity to share my most important/vulnerable work was the right one. The show dealt with engaging with the visual history of racial bigotry in the United States to help understand how racism has evolved into the beast it is today.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
A Relentless, honest, loving bundle of hard-work. A lot of exciting things on the horizon and grinding everyday to turn it all into a reality. “A day on, Not a day off” – MLK jr.
Stay tuned to Milk for more artists on the rise.