meet david hale

Posted on June 10 2016


for our third installment of cool dudes, we met up with david hale, the incredibly creative and inspiring soul behind love hawk studio. drawing inspiration from nature and his own spirituality, he unleashes creativity as a tattoo artist and illustrator. he’s designed show posters and album covers for some of the biggest and best names in the music industry including the avett brothers and pearl jam. he’s also incredibly thoughtful, and people come from far and wide to get one of his coveted tattoos. although his distinct aesthetic can be found in many forms there is one consistent focus that is always reflected in his work: his gratitude for everything he has in life, especially his family.


have you always known that creating is what you were put on this earth to do?
dh: I’ve had a creative process since I was a little kid, and by the time I got to high school I knew for sure that I’d have a career in that. it was just kind of natural and intuitive to me. if I had any other job I wouldn’t be very good at it because I’d be busy drawing all the time. but when I was real little I wanted to be like a fighter jet pilot.
what’s the story behind finding your inspiration in nature?
dh: I grew up with a creek in my backyard and would spend a whole lot of time back there. it was a nice little secret nook in the woods. must not have been much over an acre, but it seemed like a whole world in itself.
now I live out in the woods, surrounded by it, and it’s natural for me to draw inspiration from that. I think places that aren’t so heavily influenced by human development are really healing to people, and I want to reflect that back through the world.
what can we expect from “the beloved land” series that you are currently working on?
I’m planning on working to build it up to having a show at the lyndon house in summer 2017, and it’s been really rewarding. it very well could be a body of work that continues the rest of my life because it’s all based on athens.
the creek (or muscogee) indian word for athens, the land between the forks of the Oconee rivers, is Ikunu- tchaka, and that translates to Beloved Land. that really defines how I feel about this place. I’ve been drawing all my inspiration directly from plants and animals and people and all kinds of things that reside here between the forks of the Oconee river, and I’m going to continue that process until at least the summer of 2017 and then see how it goes on beyond that.


what is your favorite medium of expressing yourself?

dh: if I had to select a particular medium, which it’s never gonna be that way, my primary focus is tattoo. it demands that amount of focus because of the nature of how difficult it is to work in, what it requires as far as not having room for air, and the depth of connection to the work, and the people i’m doing it on. I like the scale of it, and I do a lot of things. like right now, I’m working on this big mural project, and there’s designs I use in the mural that are also original drawings and tattoos, and when I see them complete in tattoo form it’s by far my favorite.

how does your family play a role in your art?

dh: they play a huge role in my art. I am deeply devoted to my family. my wife and son are both very creative, so they’re really inspiring. sometimes I’ll do designs inspired from drawings my son does. he’s always tracing my tattoos, and they’re always giving me input. every single thing I draw I show to them. they’re my ultimate influence in that regard. they’ve got great aesthetic…it’s amazing getting to re-live life through the eyes of a child, it’s the ultimate experience overall as an artist, it’s just phenomenal.

what does being a father mean to you?

dh: that’s a really big question that I’ve been thinking about a lot. I think being a father just means being present, just to be available. that’s hard, because I think, especially as men, often we feel like we need to provide answers, but really the most important thing to provide is being truly present emotionally and physically and that’s really what it’s about. like you’re never gonna give perfect answers, you’re never gonna be able to provide for your family on a physical level to a degree where they’re always supported, so being present and willing to be available is what being a father is, and that’s all about love. your presence is love, so being present in love is really what it’s about, and it’s no easy task. it sounds simple, but being a father is one of the most challenging tasks I’ve had in my life, but also by far the most rewarding.