We’re positive people but every now and then the rain gets to us. In such a case, there is no better remedy then doing an interview with a good spirited artist like Chase. Chase knows what we’re talking about! He traded in the rainy days of Antwerp for the sunrays in Los Angeles. Now, LA is his homebase from where he spreads his uplifting and thoughtful messages in the form of murals filled with colorfull creatures. So go ahead, let yourself be inspired and let the sun shine!
“I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about who I am, what life is and how to make my love visible, all while being a rascal of course.”
What were your favorite Sunday morning cartoons when you were a kid?
I used to tune in every Sunday morning to “Chocolat Show” on the French channel FR3. I couldn’t wait for it! Cartoons like “Ulysses“, “Les Cites D’Or“, “Goldolrak“, “Inspector Gadget”… Man, those were the classics!
If Chase was an animal, what Animal would he be?
I would be a wolf, I’ve always felt connected to them. As a matter of fact, when I was a little boy I had a Keeshond which is kind of wolf-like, and when I’d come home from school every day he’d be so excited to see me, licking me like crazy. I loved that dog so much and wanted to express it to him, so I figured the only way for him to understand how much I loved him was to lick him right back!
Kinda crazy when I think about it now…
“He knew I did a throw-up (graffiti) on the school walls, but couldn’t prove that it was me”
We read that you got kicked out of the Lyceum in Antwerp, why?
To make a long story short it came down to the principal there having a personal dislike of me. He knew I did a throw-up (graffiti) on the school walls, but couldn’t prove that it was me. Don’t get me wrong a lotta things happened with teachers but it was all in the name of good fun, pulling pranks and farting really loud during silences and stuff. I mean, I was 15 and a complete rascal… But when it came down to it I loved a lot of my teachers and they seemed to like me too, and they someway somehow allowed me to have my “class-clown moments” as long as I knew when to be serious… I remember one time we had a substitute teacher that was late, so my friend and I decided to stack 2 desks on top of a worktable and sat up there until she walked in. She came in and we just acted as if nothing was the matter, sitting up there with straight faces, politely anticipating class. You should’ve seen her face!
“She pretty much lost it after that and we never saw her again…”
Her jaw dropped, she didn’t say a word, then turned around and left. I convinced all the other students, which was only like 12 of them in this particular class, that no matter what happens, we all have to act completely surprised and deny whatever she says in regards to what just happened when she comes back, no matter what! I returned the desks and tables to their normal position and when she came back with the principal screaming and pointing fingers, we all acted as if she was crazy and sincerely expressed our wonder as to why she would say these far-fetched things about us. She pretty much lost it after that and we never saw her again… It was all these sorts of things accumulating over time that led to them kicking me out.
You drink coke in America and Lipton Ice Tea in Europe. How about Asia?
In Japan I try to drink as much yogurt as I can, it is so incredibly good out there, I don’t know what it is but it’s amazing… All food, by the way, is surprisingly delicious in Japan, from snack foods at convenient stores all the way up to foreign cuisine at restaurants.
What is the song you play over and over again?
There’s so many, but the ones I have no choice but to play at least 5 times in a row would be: “DJ Premier in Deep Concentration” by Gangstarr, “Higher Level” by KRS ONE, “Protection” and “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack, “Ain’t the devil happy” by Jeru the Damaja and “O-Zone” by OC.
‘ “Awareness Geezers” are characters that have stumbled upon spirituality and awareness by NOT following the path that society strongly suggests you should follow’
In which way are you an ‘Awareness Geezer’ yourself?
Since “Awareness Geezers” are characters that have stumbled upon spirituality and awareness by NOT following the path that society strongly suggests you should follow, but rather by way of following their hearts and their passions, I’ve got to admit that I’m all “Awareness Geezer”. And just like them, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about who I am, what life is and how to make my love visible, all while being a rascal of course…
LA has been your home base since the age of 17, do you ever think of moving back to Antwerp or to another place?
It’s tremendously hard to move back into the rain once you have lived in the sun for that long… In a lot of ways the constant presence of the sun here in LA has kept me motivated and energized. As a city boy, I love keeping LA as a base and venturing out into the rest of the world whenever possible.
You get overwhelming media attention, how is it being in the spotlights like that?
It’s all right, it hasn’t been THAT crazy… I just try to treat it with respect and gratitude, you know, just being grateful that anyone cares enough about what I’m doing to want to check in with me…
We’ve read through a few interviews and your Bio. Fun seems to be the key word in there! Are you ever afraid that at a point, painting won’t be as much fun as it is now?
No, not really. Painting, especially on walls, is just so much fun that I don’t think it’ll ever become stale… I do think in order to keep things fresh for yourself, that it helps to express your ideas and creativity in other ways as well, using other mediums. That way some cross-pollination can happen and new directions and ideas can result.
There seems to be quite a consistent line of positivity in your work, do you ever let your work or yourself get influenced by what (bad) is happening in the world?
All the bad things that are happening are part of the dualistic world in which we live, in a way they are blessed and very much needed, because without the sour the sweet can never be as sweet. Rather than focusing on current events and giving commentary, I try to go to the root of things, putting the spotlight on love. All the messages in my work are there with the intent to inspire people and/or to have them question what they believe in and why. Understanding and open-mindedness are key, and I try to promote that through my work.
You get around a lot, painting in different part of the worlds. What are your favorite spots, and why?
I’ve still got a lot of places to visit, so it’s a little too early to have favorites…
Any nice traveling stories you’re willing to share?
A few years back I was in SF for a group show, and Zenith, Bue and Hashim Thomas as well as some other friends had come on the road with me. We were only there for a few days, and on the last day we were driving around asking for permission to paint on fairly beat-up walls around the city.
I think it was a Sunday, so most of the managers of the businesses we approached either had the day off or weren’t around to give their okay. After a few hours of no luck, and with the time on the clock, I told my friend Hashim, who was sitting in the passenger seat while I was driving, that he knew as well as I did that there was a wall waiting for us somewhere in the city. We agreed that it was simply a matter of locating it.
“I told him to close his eyes and “feel” where the wall was.”
I told him to close his eyes and “feel” where the wall was. He closed his eyes and after a few minutes he said he found it, and that he “felt” where the wall was, and while his eyes remained closed, he gave me directions of how to drive, you know, “make a left here”, “go straight”, “another left”, “now make a right”… Believe it or not, within 10 minutes we were right by this beautiful wall attached to a pizzeria, so I hopped out, went in to talk to the guy, whose response was that he couldn’t be more happier to get his wall painted! Pizza and drinks were on the house, and we had the best time painting and laughing until the sun went down…
“if through the process of sharing my work I can connect with people and be the cause for some joy or for some insight or some inspiration to occur, then I’m a happy camper.”
You’ve been working on your movie project ‘On-Purpose’, how is that coming along?
On Purpose is basically finished, we’re just dealing with some corrupted footage at the moment that needs to be replaced and then color-corrected, but other than that we are done! Sign up to my mailing list on my website for release dates. ( http://theartofchase.com/ )
Why did you decide to make a movie, and how was this experience?
I sort of wanted to tie the various campaigns that I do together, and present them as one. The film conveys my basic stance in life as well as shows my work-ethic all while explaining what motivates me without saying a word. Everything is implied by way of showing things rather talking about them. We shot footage on and off for 3 years, which ended up being a lot of fun, and it was this “having fun” kind of mentality that eventually pushed everything towards completion, which hasn’t exactly been a cup of tea!
Are you working towards a specific goal with your work?
My intent is to share my work and if through the process of sharing my work I can connect with people and be the cause for some joy or for some insight or some inspiration to occur, then I’m a happy camper.
“I want to be able to spread that energy around and get some real work done.”
Is there a misses chase and perhaps even a Chase junior, or is that something you want to wait with?
There certainly is! Her name is Amy Frederick and we got married more than 3 years ago. She’s a designer and you can check out her beautiful work here: http://www.amyfrederick.net/
Are there any things you really want to have done before you grow old? (i.e. go to Nepal, try LSD, doing a mural on the whole Chinese wall, etc.).
Good question! I guess it’ll be a while before I’m really old so it’d be great to dance with the gypsies, paint in 100 countries, altogether cut sugar from my diet, master how to play the piano and violin, grow a beard down to my chest, say “yes” to whatever is proposed to me for one year straight, learn how to surf, break a couple of Guinness records, and overcome my fear of insects. We’ll see how many I get to check off the list…
What can we expect from you in the future?
I usually don’t live too far off into the future because then the immediate moment escapes me. But the direction I’m growing towards definitely involves tons of painting and designing. I want to start a non-profit company as well that raises awareness and funds for regional charities in various problem areas of the world. With being a visual communicator comes a lot power, because people give you their attention, and since where attention goes energy flows I want to be able to spread that energy around and get some real work done.