The “Observance” art show featuring the esoteric works of our very own Professor Chris Hall took place on May 12th. Cottage 13 was transformed into a gallery and the doors were open to the public during Art Crawl. Serving up some tasty treats from Sensational Samosa and Bitten on Locke, friends and family and curious crawlers joined us to celebrate our first ever art show. It was a successful night of fun to celebrate Chris’ talent and hard work in putting “Observance” together.
Chris Hall has been a tattooer for 18 years and he has been painting in various mediums for 26 years. His first art show was in November at Seven Crowns’ gallery in Toronto. “Observance” is essentially a continuation of the November show. Chris’ 13 paintings, all black and grey ink on paper, depict traditional tattoo imagery as well as mystical and mythological characters. Refined shading and juxtaposition of light and dark elements define this collection. Although the imagery is a little less macabre than the previous series and not as minimalistic in its approach, this collection is an homage to slightly more occult ideas. The inspiration for these pieces came from a lot of gothic and religious art. Chris looked to the use of line and composition from artists such as Erhard Amadeus Dier, Erte and Aubrey Beardsley. He admits to choosing black and grey because when he tattoos, and generally when he paints, he gravitates towards colour. This series of paintings is an exercise in developing monochromatic skills. He believes that the paintings are more timeless in this way and carry a dark ambience. The use of ink and water also crosses over in both mediums, painting and tattooing, therefore making it another exercise in progression.
Chris admits he prefers to paint over tattoo because he is able to explore his own ideas, as opposed to tattooing where he is essentially a contracted illustrator making the clients idea work for their body. Also, when painting, he is not necessarily dealing with time constraints (although he put himself under tremendous time pressure to complete this show!) Painting allows him to execute the ideas as he wishes and he finds the time he spends painting very cathartic with minimal stress and pressure. This is in contrast to tattooing in which you must please the client, please yourself and perform the delicate operation of applying something permanent to something living. Tattooing allows little margin for error, which is why painting is less stressful. In the context of painting you can rework or start again.
All of Chris paintings are for sale and will be displayed at the shop for the until next the June art crawl. Partial proceeds from the sale of the paintings as well as cash donations made during the opening event will be donated to local children’s charity Food 4 Kids.