KC Hall

KC Hall’s love for art has always been in him, and was solidified when he got a taste doing graffiti as a teenager. Hall is from Bella Bella, B.C. and currently lives in East Vancouver, where he was raised for the majority of his life.

He currently works as an artist, working on anything from canvases and murals to skateboards. When Hall started doing graffiti, he says he immediately submerged himself into the culture of it.

Hall did graffiti throughout his entire time in high school and a bit into his twenties, but says he wasn’t too serious into it because “it mainly caused a lot of grief and trouble” during the earlier days.

“I mainly liked graffiti for the design aspect as well as color scheme and structure of letters and everything like that. So, I did a lot of sketchbook stuff,” said Hall.

In his late twenties Hall got into the Jewelry Arts Program at Native Education College, which he says was the first time getting back into “doing real art” at that time.

Hall’s fiancé told him he should apply for the program, which included submitting a portfolio of recent native formline work they’ve done — which Hall hadn’t done at all.

“I’ve never done any. So I looked online at a few things and I just tried to create my own version of Formline with no knowledge of how to create it at the time. I created seven sketchbook pieces,” said Hall.

He brought those to his interview with the late Robert Tait, and was told they could use some work but was ultimately accepted to the program, which he completed in seven months.

Illustration by Shaikara David

During his time there, Hall says Tait was a tough teacher and recalls an assignment where he had to draw a sheet full of ovoids and had 10 out of 50 that were up to Tait’s standards.

“He didn’t really teach us the aspect of design. He taught us the aspect of silversmithing, which was like soldering, cutting silver, bending silver, molding silver — it was mainly how to do all of that. He wanted us to figure out design on our own,” said Hall.

“It was probably the best way for me to do it, because I wasn’t influenced by him or anyone else to design sort of the way they do. I learned how to create something my own way.”

From that point on, Hall started his journey to working on serious Northwest Coast Formline artwork, which leads to him to where he is today.

Recently, Hall was part of a project from Vancouver Mural Fest where they called 40 artists to paint 40 stores that were boarded up.

Hall has managed to turn his art into a career, and if he had anything to say to a younger version of him it would be to not be so hard on himself.

“I was like super hard on myself and everything I made I hated. And I thought the world’s going to hate this work, why am I even doing it?” said Hall.

He also says he wouldn’t listen to what anyone says and to just create for himself and not for anyone else.

“You work hard enough at it, then the benefits you’re wishing for will fall upon you themselves. Not trying to fish for it. And never make it about money.”

Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
    First Nations
    ,
    ,
  • Province/Territory
    British Columbia
  • Discussion Guide
    create to learn discuss

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