Sunday, November 27, 2011

This years convention and travel schedule.

I have had quite a few people ask if I am going to be in this city or that. As much as I would love to go everywhere and tattoo everyone I can not. So after much careful consideration here is the slim downed list of shows that I will be doing in 2012.

Miami TattooLaPalooza, January 6th-8th
Guest spot at Eternal Ink in Davie FL right after. January 11th and 12th
Minneapolis, January 13th-15th
Hampton Roads/Norfolk Virginia, March 2nd-4th
Eugene Oregon Ink, April 27th-29th
Seattle this show usually happens the 2nd weekend of August

Shows that I am inquiring about attending
Park City/Layton Utah, August 3rd-5th
London England Tattoo Jam, October
Guest spot at Loose Screw Tattoo in Richmond VA dates pending

Most of you will notice that this is dramatically less than I did last year and far more West Coast oriented. Due to my moms health issues and some major changes in my life this up coming summer I have made the hard but wise decision to stay a bit closer to home.
If you are interested in getting work done at any of these conventions just hop over to the submissions page on the website and send me a message. Please understand it takes me a while to respond to these emails. In most cases I don't even begin to book a convention until about a month out. It's just far easier for me to keep track of everyone that way.
Hope to see some of you on my adventures!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Burbank and Back (a 36 hour tour)

Here's a quick selection of pictures from the Hyaena Gallery's opening this weekend.  Cy, Jocelyn and I hopped in the car for a quick Cannonball run to Burbank, picked up Nic Caesar on the way and had a blast in the process.
The much coveted "bulldog skull" sketch from the vending machine
Clint Carney in his pursuit for the "bulldog skull" in the Hyaena Vending Machine

My piece, "The Dreaming Jars"

Inside Hyaena

That just about sums it up!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Putting my art together while simultaneously tearing my house apart.

Yes, I did have to start out my blog by having to google the spelling of a word in the title but come on, how many of you can spell simultaneously on half a cup of coffee? Instant coffee even.
To start with my mom is finally out of the hospital. She was released last Friday. A week before they expected. She hates hospitals so she was very motivated to be out of there. She is at home and doing well.
The only rough bit we had to contend with was a death in the family and the funeral. The services were nice (as nice as a funeral can be) It was good to see family members that I haven't seen in forever. There was a lot of "Remember me? I knew you when you were 2?" ummm no frankly I don't remember where I put my work keys yesterday so what makes you think I remember who the heck you are? That of course came out sounding more like "No, I am sorry" It was kind of like in badly dubbed foreign films where the actors move their lips for 5 minutes and the only word that pops up in the translation is "Hi"
Some cool stuff (slightly stressful) has been going on with art and art related things. I have several projects in the works and some exciting stuff that might happen waiting in the wings.
Right now the big looming project is trying to get the paintings done for the windows of University Art in January. Dave and I have been trying to coordinate this for a few years and I finally committed to a specific date. So now instead of having to do paintings that are 18x24 or smaller I am doing 24x36 and bigger. I was a bit freaked out about where I was going to store these guys and just how I was going to get them sold until I talked with the awesome Bill Shafer at Hyaena Gallery in Burbank. He has agreed to represent my art work and keep a catalog of what I have available on hand for anyone who is looking for something larger that he usually deals with.
I addition to all of the big guys that I am in the middle of I will be participating in a group show down at Hyaena. The show is titled "Noir" and will be a gran collection of some really dark art. Bill challenged us to dig deep into the depths of our psyche and pull out some crazy stuff. I know I did so I am eager to see what everyone else has done.
Now, those things that I mentioned were in the of them is definitely a go. I just have to get my drawings together and wait for it to be officially launched. The second (super,really rads so awesome that I don't want to make eye contact with it lest it vanish) item is still in the planning stages. And as soon as that gets a little more real/confirmed I will let you all know about it.
Now on to my house....ugh.
The remodel is just now beginning and none to soon. The washer has been limping along and the dryer finally refused to go any further. The oven that heats to what ever temperature it feels like and the dishwasher  doesn't fit in the counters because some owner somewhere down the line didn't set the kitchen cabinets to the right depth, Well, all of that will be a thing of the past by Christmas with any luck. Oh, and that pink bathtub that someone thought was a great idea, that's going too.
So if you don't see me out and about in the next couple of months remember, it's not that I don't love you. It's just that I am buried under a stack of paintings or I have been crushed to death by an avalanche of kitchen cabinets. It could go either way.

For those that may be interested in checking out some great dark art that will challenge you in many ways or if you are interested in getting you hands on one of my originals, here is the link to Hyaena.

If you are interested in a dusty pink bathtub from the 1950's (a great collectors item I am sure) just hit me up!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The pictures I promised from the Portland convention that I forgot to attach to the original post.

 The booth at the convention and me tattooing... (this is my tattoo face)

 Some cool street art out in front of Voodoo Doughnuts. Home of the original bacon maple bar.

 Cy and Jocelyn's first serious convention training session. Notice the serious look on Jocelyn's face as she considers just how hard it is that she gets paid to travel, eat, drink and talk art all day.

 I went to Portland and all I did was put a bird on it.

The front and back section of the bat tatttoo.

A cool beetle both in progress and finished

Places of note in Portland:
Hubers Cafe
Powell's Books
Voodoo Doughnut
The Farm Cafe (get the cheese ball)
For good hipster watching    and the attached

I posted before Jocelyn, Fuck hospitals, tattoo artists are people too and a quick recap of the Portland Expo. Not necessarily in that order.

First of all I would like to welcome and introduce the newest member of the Vermin family Jocelyn McGregor. We brought Jocelyn aboard to give me a hand with a bunch of the little things that I seem to let slip through the cracks (then bitch about later when they are not done) Things like calling with appointment reminders, schedule juggling, making/framing/shipping prints and carting my stuff in and out of conventions and photographing stuff.
Also one thing that I have asked Jocelyn to do is give me a bit of a hand with this blogging thing. As my official photographer Jocelyn will be documenting my many adventures across country tattooing and painting. So I asked her to join in every now and then to share some of the pics (only the ones that make me look good) and give her side of the story. Just in case I need a witness or alibi. You know how it is :)
Her first trip with us was to the Portland tattoo expo. It's by far one of the slowest conventions that we do but, it is a great place to work on people that I have met in Seattle but do not have the time to tattoo. So, it definitely worked as a good convention to train her at and kind of show her the ropes. I will be sure to post a picture or 2 of Cy training her on how we roll.
I did some super fun pieces at the convention. For the most part it was all photo realistic animals. Three types of bats, a Beetle and an Otter. I managed to keep busy the entire show. Which is a good thing for the girls since I tend to get crabby when I just sit around at these things. That and I was directly across the aisle from one of the few people I absolutely hate in this industry. It made me feel better to be busy when he wasn't. And it did push me to really bring my "A" game. I felt it was a better option than having his presence shake my confidence and have a negative impact on what I was doing.
We spent the day before the convention at Powell's Books and at a variety of food trucks. I would like to give a big thanks to the woman who made for me one of the best BBQ pulled pork sandwiches I have ever eaten. Also a big props to the bartenders at Hubers Cafe. The Spanish coffees were strong, hot and set on fire for our entertainment. And a warm wish to our cab driver (because after purchasing huge bags of books and drinking Spanish coffees we were in no shape/mood to walk back to the hotel) thanks for putting a bird on it for us.
And now finally for the "deep" part of the blog. You can stop reading here if you want. I won't hold it against you. That being said I do have some rather intense stuff to write about...
Some of you may know that my mother has been in and out of the hospital for the past 5 years. She has battled cancer twice and is currently undergoing intensive back surgery because an infection (carried in through one of the ports they put in for the chemo) lodged in her spine and ate away at the vertebrae basically destroying them. On Monday as we were driving like mad to get home she completed the first part of the process. They cut her open from the side, cracked/moved a rib out of there way, moved everything from the inside out and cleaned her spine and set a piece of bone to begin the grafting process. Our huge worry through out was that when the went in they would find cancer. Which would pretty much have been a death sentence. We were immensely relieved when the diagnosis came back all clear. So over the next few days she gets to hang out in the hospital and recover her strength so that they can proceed to part 2.
For part 2 they will go in through the back and fuse and place a rod in her spine. This should repair the damage and give her a better shot at being able to get on the road to recovery/a more pain free life. With any luck this operation will happen at the beginning of next week.
Things have been pretty stressful around here lately. As you can imagine. I have been doing my best to keep my head in the game. This is one of the rare occasions that I enjoy working so much. It keeps me from having to think and focus on the worry. It's a good distraction.
This brings me to my final bit for this blog. Tattoo artists are people too.
As good as my life seems on the surface (traveling all over, eating a ton of yummy food and doing cool projects with friends) often times there is quite a bit of "real world" stuff going on that you just don't see. I get sick, my family gets sick, I have family drama, friends pass away, I work long hours, I own and run a business. Most of those cool projects I do I have to turn around in a weeks time. Not easy when I get called in to work to cover for people or have to go over to my mom's to help out.(Don't stop calling me for those by the way) All that travel, well for the two weeks prior every spare moment is spent in preparation for it and working longer hours at the shop so that I can afford to go out of town.
I do the best I can returning phone calls, showing up to work on time and mentally ready. But unfortunately I am only human. Sometimes I have to call in sick or not fill cancellations to take care of shop and family issues. Sometimes I an exhausted from staying up late to complete a project. Sometimes I am a bit crabby. I do my best.
Remember, everyone you encounter has a life outside of your interaction and you never know what's happening in it. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

My reaction to being called an elitist and why I now have a submission page on the website

Ok so I have been captain suckey pants about blogging lately. It seems that every time I think I have time to blog I have been having to instead redirect my energy to doing scheduling nonsense or putting out one fire or another or sleeping. Yes, I said sleeping. I know it doesn't happen very often but it is important and there is the rare occasion that I admit this.
So being called an elitist isn't why I started to do the whole submissions thing. I was actually called and elitist because of the whole submissions thing. And it may not have been that specific word "elitist" but it was something close. And where as the smart ass part of me wanted to say "Yeah, duh" I know that I shouldn't.
So I figured I would take a second and explain why we started this new way of doing things.
Most of you know that I am a work-a-holic. ^-7 days a week 8-13 hours a day then going home and painting or answering emails. Well, I am not necessarily a doing that because I want to. Trust me if I could I would love to lay around on the couch watching movies and sleeping all day. But I do have a shop to run and people to tattoo.
Recently I have decided to make a concentrated effort to take my life back and maybe give myself a day or 2 off a week. And when I say off I really mean off. Not off and come into work to do paperwork. Not off and sit around the house and answer emails and do scheduling. I mean off and go to the grocery store, fold laundry, eat a cheeseburger and sleep on the couch.
I had wanted to do this last year but I ended up screwing myself when in January I took on 75 new clients. It proved to be overwhelming. The scheduling was off the hook and some of those folks I haven't even been able to start working on yet. Not to mention I wasn't smart about the scheduling. I managed to often time set things up so that I had 2-3 drawings to come up within a week for some of these appointments. Stoopid monkey.
I figured there had to be a better way so Cy and I discussed it and we decided that the submissions email was the best way to go. That way as I completed some of these 75 new people, I could go through the new emails one at a time and pick someone to fill the spot. Which means one piece of art due at a time. Which means yeah, you may sit in that email for months but when I contact you, you will probably get to start your tattoo in less than 2. It means that I don't have to tattoo the same imagery over and over and over and over and so on.
I can shake things up a bit and keep things fresh for myself. Or I can take pieces that I would like to have in my portfolio. I get a little frustrated when I hear people say "Well she is good but all she does is flowers"
Already I have some new octopuses in the concept phase, a dragon a tree and some water that I consulted on, some rad deep space imagery that will blend into ocean and deep sea stuff. All stuff that is going to keep me excited to work these 12 hour days all stuff that I will be able to introduce slowly and smartly into my schedule.
Folks I am not trying to be an elitist. I am just trying not to screw myself and take a little control over my life again. So to the person who said it...I stick my tongue out at you. To her friend who stuck up for me I say "Thanks!"
Oh and if you are going to submit stuff to me please make sure you send it to the submissions email not the general email. They can get lost!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1 and a half hour paintins. And yeah I mean paintins.

I realized yesterday that I hadn't been able to get out to the studio in a couple of weeks and it was starting to get under my skin. I was worried that if I didn't take measures to get out and paint that quite frankly my hands would cut themselves off and head out there without me. (which would pose some long term problems not to mention be difficult to explain to my clients and create a bit of a mess)
In an effort to avoid all of the above mentioned problems I did a couple of quick sketches on my lunch and as soon as I got home went out to paint.
It felt amazing almost cathartic. I wasn't super emotionally  attached to them so I was able to paint quite a bit more freely than normal. It was great to not have the pressure of a show or it being commissioned work. It was as if I got to do my favorite thing in the world without any constraints, worries or cares.
I did 2 paintings and each only took me about an hour and a half. (I think that I will go back in and do another 15min or so on each. I want to deepen the backgrounds an bit) I didn't let myself get hung up on the details. I didn't worry about color only tone. And you know I am kinda happy with them.
I am thinking that I need to do a couple of these a week just to keep sharp. Remind myself where I should be concentrating  my efforts and what is important instead of getting all hung up on crap that just doesn't matter.
Not that taking forever on a piece is bad or wrong or that I will stop doing just that. But when you have the freedom to move quick it causes your priorities to shift and become simple.
So here is a pic of one of the ones that I did last night....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A couple pieces from the Seattle Tattoo Convention

The Seattle recap....

What a whirlwind of a week. Sorry that I haven't gotten to post anything in while. Seems like there was no down time at all while we were in Seattle.
First off I need to give a shout out to some awesome folks who's awesomeness should be recognized.
Many thanks to the fabulous Cy without who's help running the booth this weekend nothing would have gotten done! 
Also mad props to my girls Sandra and Sabina who helped hold down the other tables and keep everyone working. These folks are the unsung heroes of the convention. The ones who stand at the table for hours on end answering questions (often the same ones over and over again), selling merch and making sure the artists always have a client in front of them. Thanks you three. Great job this weekend!
Secondly I would like to thank my clients who came out for some awesome work. The pieces just kept getting better and better as the weekend went on. I got to add some cool background stuff to pieces that I started last year, rocked a double koi tattoo with water lilies and lastly the life cycle of the western chorus frog.
Also thanks to everyone that have already sent in requests for next year and for everyone who wants to visit in Portland. Some of the submissions are sounding fun. Bats, beetles, flowers and many other fun things.
I just started to type a long drawn out bit by bit explanation of what we did that would have bored you all to death. So I am going to just sum things up short and sweet.
It was the best show that I have done with the best group of people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. We ate good food until we couldn't eat anymore, we drank well and we laughed until our sides ached and tears streamed down our faces. We learned to never steal Josh's cherry, Sabina doesn't get a joke (which is often way funnier than the joke itself) Shawn would kill for cheese curds, Sandra is afraid of heights and water (which is why it is so much fun to put her on a boat and take her to the top of the Space Needle) if it sits still on the convention table Cy will sell it, Jessica will eat almost anything we put in front of her and I learned that I have the best job I could have ever imagined!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The long drawn out complicated answer to the most frequently asked question

I took a survey and asked people how often I should Blog. (by survey I mean I asked the 3 people I was out to dinner with) The consensus was that once a week was average but more is fine. My big concern was being one of those people who updates their Facebook status every 10 minutes just to tell you they changed their socks or they put cream cheese on their bagel (yes spell check tried to change that to beagle, I mean who puts cream cheese on their beagle? Peanut butter yes, cream cheese no) So in the grand pursuit of balance I am going to try and shoot for 2 times a week unless things get crazy.
Now, on to the long drawn out complicated answer to my most frequently asked question....
What made you start tattooing/why did you choose to become a tattoo artist.
Well, honestly I didn't start out wanting to be a tattoo artist. I wanted to be an ice cream man. Driving around in my little van playing pop goes the weasel dispensing frozen treats to kids. Sounds creepy now that I am an adult but when I was 7 it was the best idea in the world. My dreams of being the ice cream man were destroyed one fateful day when I was skateboarding in front of my house. (I am sure I was dreaming of being the next Tony Hawk even though I couldn't manage to stay on my board let alone do a trick.)  I lost control of my board and it shot out into the street in front of a speeding ice cream truck and was destroyed. After that I developed a deep dislike for ice cream trucks and retreated into the safety of my house where they would no longer be able to destroy my dreams.
Well, since I was stuck inside I had to keep myself entertained. I read a lot of books and began to draw bad little illustrations to go with them. Slowly I got better and began to take classes in school. By the time I reached high school the only class you could ever find me in was my art class. There I spent long hours thinking that I was going to be the next great illustrator or creature creator for Lucas. Watch out Brian Froud, Larry Elmore, Brom all you guys, I am coming for you!
My plans to attend college fell through and I drifted along for quite some time. I got caught in a web of retail jobs and soon I realized that my greatest goals and aspirations revolved around becoming middle management.
Things needed to change. My sarcasm was getting the best of me and every day seemed to be getting worse. I had talking to friends about tattooing and had been asked to draw a couple for people. I kept thinking about how great it would be to do illustrations for and on people. To work with the story of a real person instead of a made up character in a book. So with a little (by little I mean a lot)  help, love and support I made the leap.
So yeah, it really boiled down to my desire to be an illustrator. I still take classes off and on in pursuit of my illustration degree. As for my tattoos, I am really just now getting to the point where I feel like my tattoos are truly telling the stories of those who wear them. My design are starting to shift from simple objects placed on the body to more involved concepts. Well, at least that's what I am aiming for :)
Side note, I once answered this question with "Why not" and "How else could I make this much money doing art" They didn't go over well.
Side note #2 I also wanted to be a Vet but I realized that I wouldn't be able to keep all the animals alive. I wanted to be a hermit in the woods of Alaska and live off the land but I realized I would probably have to learn to hunt (refer to the above line where I mention wanting to keep all the animals alive)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Why

For a couple of years now people have been poking me with a stick and trying to get me to blog about all of the weird stuff I get into, the traveling I do, the food I eat and the tattoos that I do. So, having finally succumbed to peer pressure and in an attempt to get over my fear of spelling and grammar picky people here it is.  If you don't like run on sentences, extra commas and weird apostrophes this may not be the best blog for you to read. On the other hand,  if you are interested in what goes on inside a tattoo artists head this is a great spot to be.

Here is a bit of what is happening right now....ready, set, go!

 Hahahaahhahahah and with that I totally thought I just deleted everything!
Thank god for auto save.
Ok, try again, Right now I should be getting ready for the Seattle Tattoo Expo. Probably one of the coolest shows I get to do all year. The amazing amount of talent in that building is just inspiring. Not to mention, I have been doing that show long enough to develop some great clients who let me do cool work on them.
But I have to admit that this convention makes me a bit nervous. All of that amazing talent keeps me humble and makes me push myself and my work in an effort to reach that magical unreachable level of "perfection" And yeah, I am my own worst critic.
Cy and I spent all of yesterday watching Being Human (awesome show) and making merchandise. We managed to get about 100 prints put together and about as many greeting cards. The giclee  place got my painting printed out for me to pick up today so tonight it looks like I will be out in the studio putting the text on it. That means new banner for the show. Woo hoo.
So if you are in the Seattle area August 12th through 14th you should swing by and say hello and check out everything that we have been working on.
I guess that's about all for right this second. I promise they will get a bit more exciting but not enough to land me my own t.v. show.


Welcome to the beginning of Char Hall's Blog. We welcome you to come back often and check out what Char is up to. If you have not experienced Char Hall before, here is a bit about her:

Char Hall was born in Sacramento, California and raised in the wild plains of her imagination. At an early age she began to draw and create fantastical animal friends from within her head. They were a constant source of companionship and support. It wasn't long until she discovered her heroes, Jim Henson and Brian Froud. It was then that her art transitioned to a whole new level and it began to get noticed. By the time Char was 18 she had been a California Art Scholar twice, won several awards and had been selected to show at the Crocker Art Museum three times. 
After being distracted by having to exist in the real world, Char came back to creativity in 2006 and to doing art for a living. Since returning, She has already won awards for both her art and her tattooing. When not traveling the world or being a guest artist, She resides at Side Show Studios where she spends her time tattooing and creating creatures to share with the rest of the world.
Though she is too modest to mention it, Char has been voted Best Tattoo Artist by the readers of the Sacramento News & Review for 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010. She also won Best Visual artist 2007 & 2008. Her Studio has won Best Tattoo Parlor for 2008 & 2009 as well as placed in 2007 & 2010. She is a supporter of numerous local charities. Her TV appearances include Livewire, Good Day Sacramento twice as well as a feature on KVIE public television. Recently her art has made it to Hollywood where it was used for the movie Scream 4 and at the release party for The Psycho Legacy.