I am happy to announce the completion of my mural titled "Birdsong" in conjunction with Athfest Educates, Lyndon House, and Philanthropy Fashion in Athens GA. I was assisted throughout the duration of this project by 4 incredible High School assistants, Jeremy Kiran Fernandes, Sam Watson, Kalib Hubbard, and Mara Bastow. Here are some images of the creation, installation, and final product.
I recently completed a very special Woodcut in collaboration with Double Dutch Press in Athens Ga as part of their [Blank]. This edition of 50 prints was pulled by the ladies at Double Dutch print, on Stonehenge Cotton Rag Paper with a deckled edge on 3 sides. I carved the block, embossed, and gold/copper leafed each print myself. I also created unique adornments around the numbering, title, signature, and border around each and every print. Every one is one of a kind and very special. You can find them <HERE>
Here are some photos of the process in creating and printing this image::
The Hawk gave up its song
for its purposeful descent.
You could have both,
and yet you wallow amongst
possession and all these things.
INK + EARTH
NOVEMBER 7TH, 2015
THE BELOVED LAND
Athens, Georgia is my home - it is where my heart resides. Its roots extend deep enough to meet the Ancestors of this land; the Creek (or Muscogee) Indians are some of these Ancestors. They, like me, planted their hearts here, and it is from these seeds that my work inevitably grows. They called this land, between the forks of the Oconee Rivers, Ikunu- tchaka, the Beloved Land. It was more than a special place to them, it was Sacred, and they gave their lives to protect it and the creatures that reside upon it. Because this land is my "Beloved Land" as well, I am dedicating the next year to working directly from its inspiration. Beginning in October 2016 I will embark on the "Beloved Land Series."
This work, as with all my art, will consist of a variety of mediums and techniques, anchored upon a particular devotion. Each month I will be producing 10 primary images; initially executed as drawings, they will reference denizens of the local landscape, plants, animals, insects, and ecosystems, both native and introduced. These will be things I see, hear, smell and feel with my body, mind, and spirit. I will not use a computer for reference during this time; instead I will focus on what I see, assisted by what I can find in books in my collection and at the libraries found on the Beloved Land.
From these 10 primary images, I will, each month, produce original works, tattoos, screenprints, photographs, and poems inspired by the Land. This will be a wide and expansive body of work, built upon the very prolific manner I have worked in for over 10 years as a professional artist, but novel in its focus on one subject over the period of a year. I use locally sourced materials whenever possible, and finish most of my works with walnut ink I make by hand from walnuts I find in the woods behind my home. This body of work represents a very natural and organic course of my life and work. It feels very much like a tributary that has reached a major confluence.
David Hale September 2015
I am a Bramble
One day they will bulldoze all the woods I grew up in,
A creek, a cricket, a salamander, a frog, all placed under the steel hammer of a race that none of us are winning.
That water does not run any longer, a detention pond, holding all the tainted memories of a place of a young boys dreams.
Dirt and brambles held such stories, red clay is the color of my blood.
I hang my head and cry at the loss of these, I tell you no one is winning.
Oh but I hold onto a seed,
I know what those waters said to me,
and all the blood that fell from the wounds of those brambles
feeds a depth that no bulldozer can reach.
Love is my Creek, and I pass that on to my Son from me.
Put a sign on all the land, sell what has always been free
You can take all this shit, pile it up for all to see
Bigger houses, faster cars, shiny things
mean nothing compared to what that Creek meant to me.
Oh, why can't you see. I cry out my eyes, I sit down on my knees, my heart pours out and I just want you to see, what it means to me.
Step away from these screens and take some time to see what I mean.
I fell down, sometimes I don't want to get back up again
It can be so calm down there, but there is always something pulling me back up here.
Oaks and Pines, they make it look so easy, it's a matter of time.
My journey seems so arduous when I only see it as mine.
It's a matter of time.
Oh but then I feel the Divine, hands on my shoulders, tears on the ground and sometimes I don't want to get back up again.
Bury me in the soil, make me Oaks and Pines, some part of me has die, it's a matter of time.
You think you have let go, and the Love comes to pull at what you hold in your hands. All this Flesh and Blood, Emotions and Thoughts, take it from me Love.
My body will become cold and my flesh will fall off the bones, then the Warmth will come, it's a matter of time.
Break me wide open scatter the seeds of Oaks and Pines.
I will hold up the stars and they will pull me in. Stand so tall and then I will fall. I will then grow back again. I am Oak I am Pine, it's a matter of time
Last month I was given the true blessing of getting to spend the better part of a week at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with the Lakota People. I was there with Conscious Alliance and the Strong Hold Society directing a youth art program. We brought food that was donated for posters created by artists for Conscious Alliance, and we brought a truck full of skateboards, some of which I designed, to distribute to the youth at their new skatepark. The art program I created was teaching the kids how to make bird sculptures from used skateboard decks. I brought a pile of decks that were flawed decks donated by a friend that makes skateboards, these decks were not suitable to be ridden and perfect for this project. The goal was to show the young people that there are art materials all around us and with a few simple tools we can create something beautiful from something that would otherwise be discarded. One man's trash is another man's art.
I came hoping to inspire children; to give them tools to tell their story. I was unaware of the inspiration they would impart on me. These children are not given the opportunities they deserve, and their story is told all too frequently from the outside in, with a focus on the poverty they live in and the problems they face. This story fails to tell the Spiritual wealth these children live amongst. They are not given the tools to tell their story themselves, it is easier to just report on what we see. What I saw was beautiful children, these are OUR CHILDREN, that are not given the tools they deserve to reflect the beauty that is within them. If you cannot look at these people and see our Brothers and Sisters and or Sons and Daughters, you need to wipe the dust from your eyes. We live in a country that is fueled by the blood of their ancestors and they deserve more than they are offered.
To be inspired is to "Be in Spirit" and these young people truly brought me closer to Spirit. I was inspired, and they were inspired, this is what we all deserve; to reside continually "In Spirit." It is time we give these children the tools they deserve to be inspired and to inspire us with their stories. So, I am going back, this time with my family, to start helping to lay the foundation for something bigger. To not just feed people, but to give them the skills to use art to feed themselves. It is better to teach a person to fish than to give them fish. And what better what to feed than with art, for it feeds the Soul, and it is only when our Souls are fed that we find freedom, we find peace, and we find Unconditional Love.
I am asking for your help, please support Conscious Alliance and the Stronghold Society, and the work they are doing. They are empowering youth, and you should be empowered by assisting them in doing such. I designed a skateboard for them, and the proceeds go straight back to projects like this, so please buy one, and skate it or put it on your wall and think about what it means to be "inspired" and what that means to OUR young people. May you be Blessed in every step you take.
My Grandfather's Soul left his body three weeks ago. I am both blessed and stricken to say that he was the only family member I have known personally to pass from this world. He was a wonderful Grandfather to me, an amazing Father to my mother, a truly Great-Grandfather to my son, and a devoted husband to my Grandmother. When we went to the funeral home to say our goodbyes to the vessel that carried his soul for 78 years, and my son wanted to see his body, he thought it was like our snake shedding his skin. He was very clear throughout those few days to remind us that it was not "Pop" we were burying or looking in at -- it was "Pop's body." I feel I have much more to learn from my son than he has to learn from me. But still my family standing there must all in our own way release the attachments we have to the flesh we have known as a man and the strings that tie us to our bodies and thus to his. So, I watched my mom crying at the loss of her father, the man who held her as a child, who offered my father her hand, who held her children and her grandchildren as well. I watched my Grandmother, Nanny, his wife of 56 years, his greatest love, committing herself to the last sight of the body of the man she loved. Still in his pocket was the first love note she wrote him, that he carried all those years. I felt the tears of my wife, of my sister, of my entire family, and I sincerely wondered if things would be okay. I started to pray, as I stood by the hearse, waiting to receive my Grandfather's body. I looked out on the land around me and saw the way everything continued to move. It all appeared clear.
I prayed for some kind of sign, I figured the birds would give me a sign that Pop was okay and that my family would be okay. Then at some point I realized I was praying for the wrong thing. It is unnecessary to pray for signs, we are continually given signs (you are reading one right now), what seemed more worthy was to pray for the ability, the bravery, and the sight to witness the signs that I was offered. So I let go, I had Faith, I didn't need a sign, I felt my Soul and I felt my Heart. I felt my Grandfather there within my Heart, he loved me so much he will always be there.
His funeral was beautiful and challenging, it was amazing to stand with my family but also so difficult to see them grieve. My Uncle shared beautiful words and feelings about his best friend and father, I felt sincerely how much my Grandfather cared for us, his Family.
Then, as we left the funeral, my cousin tapped me on the shoulder and said "David look…" pointing up. Right over our heads was a Juvenile Red-Tail Hawk in the middle of his molt (this is the most challenging time in their life when they must devote massive amounts of energy to growing new feathers, a period of growth and renewal, a period of rebirth). The hawk followed us, and as me and 7 of my cousins put his body back into the hearse to take it on its final trip to the cemetery, it circled perfectly above us. It stayed in sight circling higher and higher until we left to go to the cemetery. Sight, and a man humbled and undeserving of such a gift, yet granted, not for me but for my Grandfather. The Perfect Gift.
We are given Life and we are given Death, this is what we agree to when we become human. We are also given Hearts, Hearts that flow with the Blood of the Divine, Blood that is Eternal. I feel the Divinity that is within my Heart and I feel it within all my Brother's and Sister's Hearts, my Grandfather resides in that place. If you would like to find him, just ask for John or Jack Hayden, he will answer to either, and he will tell you some great stories, and I guarantee he will make you laugh.
The marks I make on paper and skin may seem important to you, but they are nothing compared to the marks we make on our fellow beings' Hearts. My Grandfather did not make art, but he made a beautiful family, and without that I could not make the art I do, so please look beyond my hands when you look at my work, they are moved by so much Greater than I.
I gave this piece to a man who 2 month ago flew my Grandfather (a man he never met) on his private jet from Louisville, KY to Atlanta, GA so he could spend the day with his Great-Grandchildren. My Grandfather made me cry with laughter 2 times that day, it truly was a "Perfect Gift," a gift from God that came through a man who in that moment was an Angel.
"Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17