General, Uncategorized

On Criticism

 What to do when someone criticises your efforts? Focus on the voices you know have your best interest in mind… some will be positive encouragers (“You can do it! Keep it up! You are doing great!”) and some will be tough to hear (“We need to talk about your performance. You really messed up, but we can fix this.”)

Don’t listen to those with no honest, personal investment in you. Don’t listen to the selfish, bitter voices of those who regret their lifestyle but haven’t matured to the point of change. 

I read a post from a young artist today whose artwork was callously belittled as “talentless” by someone whom I will simply call “unworthy”. The following came to mind…

Excerpt from a small book that I have yet to finish:

“Dear reader, whether the victim of criticism or the criticiser…I urge you to remember:

It takes no talent (at all) to carelessly criticize what you had no part in.

Millions of people criticize the Super Bowl quarterback for every decision made during the game, but he doesn’t hear them, nor does he care for their opinions. That QB *alone* has journeyed into countless games and practices and suffered injury and fear, rejection and triumph, over-confidence and disappointments far too many to recall. That QB had to uproot a family only to adjust to new teams, new cities and new coaching styles.

When the QB steps out onto that field, the QB knows that cameras will capture every move from all angles while reporters pontificate why those moves are wrong. The QB does this TO learn…TO get better…TO find out the flaws needing improvement, but tries to enjoy the experience. The simple joy of children playing with neighborhood counterparts all dreaming of becoming great players is over. This is work. This is pressure. This is real life.

The team, the town, the family… all the pressure. All the expectation. All the opportunity to fail everyone.


After a lifetime of sacrifice… battling the opposition, battling the nay sayers, battling personal thoughts, and yes occasionally battling those on the same side… the QB *may* get the chance to win the biggest game of that sport… *may* get to start the game…*may* take them down the field time and time again… *may* cross the goal line and put another point on the board… *may* outscore the opposition.

Every year in American Football someone does just that.

When the trophy is finally held high in victory… the crowds and reporters of that town as well as the millions of viewers who may or may not have ever attended a game or wore a logo-emblazoned jersey from that team… all shout:


I have always been amazed at this idea. More surprisingly by far, to me, is the response from those who actually did the work.

The QB and the team know the journey and the sacrifice, the criticism and the reward, but when interviewed, state humbly: “This is for the fans. We couldn’t have done it without you. Yes, WE (including the criticising public) won. WE won.

Surprisingly, it is not much different for a successful artisan.” 

What do you do when criticised? How has it affected who you’ve become, what you try? Let me know!

Chicago Chalk Champ - Shaun Hays on the Lakefront @ Navy Pier - Shedd Aquarium Promo for Earth Day 2017
Big Announcements!, Chicago Events, Family Entertainment, General, PUBLIC EVENTS

June 8th – World Oceans Day – Navy Pier and Shedd team up with Chicago Chalk Champ, Shaun Hays

Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium Join Forces with Chicago Chalk Champ, Shaun Hays, to celebrate World Oceans Day (June 8th) with a pop-up style Chalk Art Fest in Polk Brothers Park. Patrons tried their hand at sidewalk chalk for free and added their art to the chalk board kiosk when they committed to #sheddthestraw in 2017!

Did you know that single-use plastic straws are a bigger ocean pollutant than disposable water bottles?? I had no idea. I think it is good to take care of our home, so I am pledging to #sheddthestraw, and on April 8th I continued my support of Shedd Aquarium’s efforts by chalking in Polk Brothers Park in front of Navy Pier, Chicago to help Shedd Aquarium spread the word.  (Edit: June 8th at Navy Pier – Again!!)

Thank you to all who came out to help us chalk up the Polk Brothers Park with sea life and love! Kathleen Roling joined #chicagochalkchamp, to render some magnificent animals affected by the plastics in our oceans. I had done this twice already this year: once here at Polk Brothers PArk and a second time between the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum on Earth Day. 

Visitors to each location participated in the chalk artwork and brought their own creativity to help us #sheddthestraw on #earthday (and now, #WorldOceansDay ) with some #chicagopublicart featuring the #chicagochalkchamp. “

A few pictures from our Pop-Up Chalk Festivals on the Lakefront:

Chicago Chalk Champ, Shaun Hays will be chalking amazing sea life pictures for Shedd Aquarium's Earth Day Promotions: April 8, 2017 at Navy Pier and April 22nd between Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.
Chicago Chalk Champ, Shaun Hays will be chalking amazing sea life pictures for Shedd Aquarium’s Earth Day Promotions: April 8, 2017 at Navy Pier and April 22nd between Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.
Shaun Hays, Chicago Chalk Champ - unfinished piece - Fish in Space Concept on a canvas...
Chalk Champ Information, Family Entertainment, General, Thoughts From The Champ

Drawing Fish, sea life, shells, etc. and my dream to make a connection.

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.

Shaun Hays, Chicago Chalk Champ  - "Peace in the Midst of Chaos" this was an early practice piece that was given to a good friend. The original concept came from seeing another artists Painting in my travels, but, I have no idea where I saw it, so i cannot give credit. I think I rendered it close to the original.
Shaun Hays, Chicago Chalk Champ – “Peace in the Midst of Chaos” this was an early practice piece that was given to a good friend. The original concept came from seeing another artists Painting in my travels, but, I have no idea where I saw it, so i cannot give credit. I think I rendered it close to the original.

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

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Chalk Champ Information, Chicago Events, General, PUBLIC EVENTS, Schools

Quick Overview for 2017

This page will give you insight to the wonder of Chicago Chalk Champ, Shaun Hays.

When you have selected pictures and read the info, please come back to this link to connect with us and get a free consultation, or simply call 1(312) 233-2620

Average pricing is between $1k and $3K for Locals

Indoor, mess-free options! Delivery and install, or live artist(s)!