I had the privilege of joining the Deputy Mayor Of Chicago, Chinatown Alderman, Starbucks Staff and Executives, the Jaslin Hotel and the wonderful community around West Cermak for the Grand Opening of the #starbuckschinatown yesterday. Here are some highlights:
Thank you to everyone who came out to make the day very special and especially to Andrew Wang for his conversation and help ensuring my artwork fit the Chinese traditions appropriately and Mark Lewis for making the whole event happen!
#starbuckschinatown #chicagochalkchamp Go ask for a special “CHAI CHAI CHAI”!!!
I collect shells and rocks…always have. My favorite is the Nautilus Shell which I have painted and drawn many times in my public and commissioned works.
I’ve always enjoyed being physically by the water, and, close to earth…it just feels right to me. My fantasy life would be to live as a stingray. To live, either gliding through the water like I’m flying, or to cover myself in the sand and silt for a nice meditative nap (and of course wait for my next meal haha). Beyond that, I have always enjoyed looking at underwater sea life and its beauty, so in 2009 when i set out to become the premier chalk artist on the shore of Chicago’s gorgeous Lakefront, there was one place I intended to ultimately work with… you guessed it: the John G. Shedd Aquarium. And believe you me: it’s been quite a journey.
At first, I did the obvious – email and call to introduce myself and hopefully catch a lucky break. I guess I had hoped the idea of chalk art at Shedd would be enough for someone to just say: “WOW, Shaun! No one has ever thought of that before!! You’re hired!” hahaha well, obviously everyone thinks of these ideas and (surprise!) I’m not as industrious, and unique, as I thought. Next: I attended Shedd events and at times just wandered in and handed a card to someone, but, then, I got a bit more determined and began to ask questions about who books events at Shedd and what kind of events are held there. In 2013, after some trial and error, I had a face to face with a wonderful lady who promised to keep my card and consider me for future events. The fact is, I wasn’t too confident leaving there that day, that she would. I kept hope, but i know even if intentions are good, it sometimes just gets lost in the busyness. After all, everyone wants their idea to be the one that makes the cut… and in a city this big, it’s tough to get your shot.
Meanwhile I’ve had several pieces featured at the Museum Of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, John Hancock Place, North Beach, Parades and Races, Lollapalooza (unofficially – long story) up and down Michigan Ave and State Street, Millennium and Grant Park, Major Hotels etc… and become somewhat of a regular at McCormick Place Events and Expos. That’s not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of events all over Chicagoland, the US and International events.
But, Alas, no invitation to my beloved Shedd Aquarium. I began to feel like the creepy guy with a secret crush and too many awkward attempts at conversation.
I don’t know if that meeting and my card was the catalyst or not, but something has finally broken the ice.
In early 2017, the day came that John G. Shedd was actually looking for a chalk artist! YAYA! I wasn’t going to let this one slip by. I told them in no uncertain terms “I want this job”. I repeated that in my emails (which there have been too many to count).
I hope to make an announcement very soon regarding this. Until then, enjoy this picture(s) of (a) Jellyfish I took while at Shedd a couple years back, which I will soon render in chalk for one randomly selected, super lucky fan who likes and comments on any page this is shared on. Who knows… I may choose more than one??? Lets make 2017 amazing!
I will post the finished chalk art as an update to this post
The last thing I want to be accused of, is being ungrateful for work, however sometimes life becomes so busy all you can do is look forward to your next day off! That’s me right now. Here’s a taste of my schedule in August: (im calling it Dogust because im working like a dog in the dog days of summer etc)
8 commissioned chalk art canvasses (48″x 60″)
10 cases (+) of Champ Sticks ™ to create and deliver
3 Charity Fundraiser Appearances and Auctions
2 private paid functions
1 Master Class (teaching chalk art techniques)
1 chalk art festival centerpiece
1 International Corporate Paid 3D Chalk Marketing Centerpiece (major Client)
1 Private Corporate Party 3D chalk art delivery (Im out of town)
2 presentations for Chicago Public Schools – Fine Arts Festivals
4 days of just …driving to another location
Of course this doesn’t include the countless hours of emailing clients (one client and I emailed back and forth over 40 times recently before the subject of the artwork was decided), phone calls, art/sketch submissions, Arranging the pickups/deliveries of artwork for clients, discussing calendar dates with booking agent(s)… Oh! and lets not forget that my wife (who is being very supportive/patient with it all) is asking me to find a spot in all that to go get my updated blood work and urine tests done before going back to the nephrologist in September.
Im so looking forward to Vaccatio… Oh shoot! I forgot one thing:
book a roundtrip ticket back to Chicago in the middle of my Florida Vacation at the end of the month
(takes a deep breath and looks at calendar)
*While Im typing this all out…
Im thinking of how I can give my son and wife the best of me while always giving my all to my clients… Often someone loses. Often it is my health that pays the price. I am committed to being the best I can be – always looking to improve – in business and in my relationships. I have learned that the best way to do that is to keep myself aware of my mental and physical health. I remind myself all the time that I am Blessed to have the opportunity to “play with Chalk” for a living and to support my wife and son while doing it. I have paid a dear price to get here… now its time to enjoy the view.
If you are an artist: do it well and have fun!
If you are a husband, wife or parent: do it well and have fun!
Recently several people approached me with a strange request to participate in a comic or graphic Novel and one person simply said “Shaun, do that comic!” I suppose they perceived there was a desire there or lost project in my brain somewhere or something… idk? Anyway, in looking through some old file backup I found this image… In building the new structure of all I’m doing now, and travelling everywhere doing live art, I had completely forgotten about this idea.
The last few years have taken so many twists that when I see the old image below I just shake my head with bewilderment!
*When I saved this old image, I was getting ready for “Phase1 pre-Order” to enable the creation and release of a new art lesson series to supplement my income of speaking and speed chalk art. The Lesson here: I simply wasn’t ready to commit to the full concept. Mostly out of desire to do it right the first time.
3D Chalk was helping but not yet in full swing year round. At that time, I had released a small motivational book about creating fire in your heart and stoking that fire into a life changing movement… I didn’t understand marketing and book publishing, so I self-published a couple hundred and only sold that many. I didn’t have the right connections and frankly my heart felt motivation didn’t meet up with my lack of aggressive discipline. Another worthy lesson learned.
To switch things up from Chalks and Motivational Talks, the “Art Ninja” series was to be part Comic Book and part instructional with photos and other illustrations, accompanied by a DVD or CD ROM for each book. (I always intended on drawing a better ninja but I was only in the brainstorming phase, and this was from a very quick, and loose drawing with a felt tip marker on very “bleed prone” pulp paper. #geterdun )
LOTS of great things happened soon after which took my attention away from ever moving forward on the project. I was going to include all my strengths in illustration, including chalk, pastels etc but it was going to be just a general idea of great shortcuts and building blocks for anyone wanting to be a better artist. The funny thing is, I always felt I had NO IDEA how to teach simple concepts… I felt and still feel like you should have some truly basic skills before coming to me for any instruction, or its just wasting our time because ANYONE can teach you the basics. Well, that’s simply NOT true. About 20 years ago, I taught several basics to my nephews in a booklet I made for them as a Christmas present. I also included some advanced techniques so they could advance quickly if they wanted.
Turns out, one of them did. He was only 4 at the time and is now selling artwork around the globe. He’s trained himself in a style of artwork I find incredible and done almost everything, since that first booklet, on his own! Check him out here: Shaun’s Nephew (truly a Ninja of art)
My other nephew’s and neices are all Super Cool and Ninja’s in their own categories, but that’s for another post!
Perhaps if enough interest is shown, I will get back on this “Art Ninja” project, but I cannot add it in right away. If I do, the graphics and all will be redone and the books will be full color glossy pages and each include video instructional worthy of a network broadcast. I look back and think “I want to be proud of this if it is still in circulation 40 years from now.” I have thought of doing a Crowd Funding Page, but until I have time to assess the expenses involved, I simply cannot justify setting it up.
I am interested in your thoughts – would you like to become an Art Ninja? Do you think Art is important? Would you recommend it or buy it for someone? Please comment on my FaceBook Fan Page – I’m going to post this article there too.
I hope you enjoy this update of older pics from the last couple years etc. Since http://www.shaunhays.com was taken down, I haven’t put up much of the history, so Ill try to add some more for reference: here are a few until I can find some more gems!
Shaun Hays, Chicago Chalk Champ – Chalk Art Illusions – 3D Chalk Art – Master Chalk Artist
Shaun Hays, Chicago Chalk Champ – Chalk Art Illusions – 3D Chalk Art – Master Chalk Artist- Sidewalk Advertising
Shaun Hays stops for a picture mid way thru a work He says shows the amount of knowledge and study required to be great: “it certainly doesn’t all come from books, but listening and gaining from others experience will always lift you higher”, says Shaun
I am known for chalk art all over the world and i have my own brand of chalk called ChampSticks(tm) Professional Grade Artists Chalk which many festivals are currently using or promoting for Street and sidewalk Chalk Art Competitions. Naturally, I am always thinking chalk: Chalk art, Chalk Manufacturing, Chalk uses and Chalk Competitions… I am not always thinking of various meanings and other uses for the stuff. Today, after a heavy schedule of travel and events; I was researching other uses and production methods for chalk and came across several links which were refreshingly off topic for me. I enjoyed reading the following definitions and other uses of the word. Perhaps you will too. IF not and this is just boring dribble to you, thank you for just being a human… I send you a hug.
To presume,dismiss, or disregardsomeone or something as being a certainway.I reallylikedhisearliermusic,butI’vechalkedhimoff as a totalsellout in recentyears.Mostpeoplechalkedthefilmoff as yetanotherbrainlesshorrormovie.
To linksomethingthathashappened to a particularreason or circumstance.Don’tgettoodown on yourselvesafterthisloss,boys.Let’sjustchalk it up to inexperienceandmoveon.Sure,getting a B in Algebra is disappointing,butI’mjustgoing to chalk it up to thefactthatI’musuallyterrible at math!
(British,American & Australian) alsochalksomething up toexperience (American & Australian)
to decidethatinstead of beingupsetaboutsomethingbadthatyouhavedone or thathashappened,youwilllearnfrom it ‘I’m so ashamed. I lethimtakeadvantage of me.’‘Don’t be so hard on yourself.Justput it down to experience.’
Twoobjectsthatalthoughappearing to be similarare in factdifferent.Just as certainvarieties of crumblywhitecheesemight at firstglanceresemblechalk, so forexample,siblingswhoresembleeachothermighthavecompletelydifferentpersonalities.Theywould be said to be as different as chalkandcheese.