Chewin The Fat With Charlie Owens
Growing up as a street skater gave Charlie an insight into the culture of the sport and an inspiration for his future artistic career. What he wants now is to be asked by a company to design a few boards.
We go behind the scenes to find out more...
RD: Hey Charlie, ace to meet you, could you tell us where your from please dude?
Originally I was born and raised in Knoxville Tennessee, but currently and most of my life (from the age of 18) I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia.
RD: Give us a run down on what sort of media you have experimented with and what you have decided to stick with?
At first I started out with the basics, pen and ink, a paint brush and acrylics, things of that nature. My character illustrations at the time were very loose, with heavy black outlines and large fields of color. Mostly odd looking monsters, creepy characters, skulls and things like that. It wasn't until my skills as a designer started to develop and my knowledge of programs such as Adobe Illustrator started to grow that I began to see a destinct style forming.
The main visual image in my work is usually created in Illustrator as vector art, starting from a rough pencil sketch or found reference images. This allows me to print the image out at any size and retain it's detail. At that point I can make large screens for screen printing the image on multiple surfaces, mostly wood panels of lately. Much of my work these days is truly a mixed media process consisting of layers on layers of distressed paint wash, stains, etc, to create backgrounds and then the layering of screen printed typography or other miscellaneous elements to add depth and finally the main image applied by way of stencil, screen print and/or transfer methods. It's all a very tedious process but I really like the direction of my work is going lately.
RD: Phew, sounds energetic that's for sure, but we think it gives your work that real depth.
RD: Could you tell us what inspired you to take up art, we understand it was something to do with the skate scene originally?
Well, yes, skateboarding was a big part of my life growing up and the art and culture surrounding it has definitely inspired me over the years. I was always drawing as a kid and throughout my younger years, high school and college, but never gave it much thought or took it very seriously. I didn't really know what to do with the skill. I've worked with many materials and experimented with many styles of art through out the years. It's taken me a long time to develop the look and style that I think most people associate me with today.
I'm hoping to really define the brand, the look and style over the course of the next few years.
RD: Have you ever been into street art/graffiti?
I've never been into graffiti, not to say I don't appreciate it. Wheat pasting is the only form of street art that I can honestly say I've ever been a part of. And I don't really do much these days either, Im trying to focus strictly on large scale original work for gallery showing.
RD: Fill us in on how the skate stuff started, when did you get your first board, are you a street or ramp skater and how often do you skate these days?
I believe I got my first skateboard when I was in 6th grade. It's hard to say exactly, but sometime around that age. I always favoured street skating, however I was lucky enough to have my Dad build me a mini-ramp in the back yard, when I was younger.
These days Im much older and skating is more or less something I do just messing around or cruising. Although a new concrete skatepark has just opened near us, so i'd like to get back into it. Especially as our son starts to get older, I'd like to introduce him to skateboarding as soon as he is old enough.
RD: Great idea, you won't have to wait long, they start young these days...ha!
RD: Also could you tell us about any board designs you've done or ones your working on at present?
I hate to say but I have never had the chance to design skateboard graphics professionally. it's something I've always wanted to do, but the opportunity has never been presented to me. Maybe you guys could connect me with someone!
I have however painted numerous one off originals for shows and in the recent year I had my first mass production deck released through my own resources.
RD: Art Whino Gallery in Maryland as been in touch and said you had a Solo Show just recently, how did that go and was there any mad moments you want to share?
The show went great. Art Whino is wonderful to work with. Actually while I had the Solo Show going on I was also participating in another Art Whino event called G40. It was a massive group show taking place in DC.
I guess the months of February and may were complete madness. I was pretty much none stop producing work in my off hours after my full-time Art Director day time gig. I was pretty pleased with the quality and amount of work I was able to produce in such a short amount of time.
RD: Congratulations is in order, we saw that you had a son recently, has this changed your work ethic at all?
Yes we have a new born, 4 months old now. Amazing totally new experience! Not sure it has changed my work ethic or not. I can say that i am definitely more focused and determined providing the best I can for him. I guess like any other parent I just want to provide the best possible life I can for him. I'd like to be someone that he can look up to as a role model, someone who makes their own path in life and enjoys it. You know be the cool dad. I'd say between my wife and myself he'll grow up with plenty of creative outlets.
RD: What other exhibition dates have you got coming up?
I plan on taking somewhat of a break and spend some time with the family. Well not really taking a break as much as slowing down a bit for the rest of the year and not committing to any hard deadlines. I do however plan on showing with Art Whino again this year during Art Basel Miami, in December, if every thing goes as planned. And then in May 2012, here in Atlanta I have a big show planned. The details have not been totally figured out, but it looks like everything's on track. Im really looking forward to just taking my time, and being creative without the pressure of harsh deadlines.
RD: Well it's been great to finally meet up, just want to shake your hand and say, "all the best and keep skating, thanks man".