The term creation can be used in many contexts, including: mythological tales, religious teachings, artistic endeavours, and future possibilities. And sometimes, different contexts can find themselves woven together in the tapestry of life.
The Raven, part 1
It all started in Bella Bella, a small community located on Campbell Island in the Central Coast region of British Columbia. Home to the Heiltsuk Nation, and the birth place of KC Hall.
KC Hall was only two years of age when his family moved to Vancouver, so that his mother could pursue studies in administration, through Native Education College. His family eventually settled in East Vancouver, where KC began school.
Even as a child, KC already had the passion to draw and create art. Throughout elementary into high school, KC’s focus was on comic book style artwork.
Around age 15, KC began dabbling in the world of graffiti. While attending Britannia Secondary School, KC met up with students who also enjoyed graffiti art. “The area that I was in had lots of graffiti in the alleyways, because it was close to East Hastings and Commercial. The alleyways were like a cool little pathway for graffiti artists to just duck in and do their stuff.”
“At that point, I knew how to do graffiti, but I wasn’t trying to elevate it or trying to evolve it into anything different. I just wanted to do graffiti.”
For approximately six years, KC wasn’t doing anything to grow his artistic talents. “I was more just submerged in being a young, early twenty year old, wanting to party and do whatever.”
The following is a time-lapse video of the first mural and the first part of the Raven creation story, found in Covenant House Vancouver’s Drop-In Centre. The audio below it, narrates the first part of that story. You can adjust the volume of the video, should you wish to play the audio simultaneously, for a multi-media experience.
Listen below as KC introduces the Raven Creation Story
The Raven, part 2
“It was to the point where I had gone too far. I was just drinking and partying with my friends. My mom was sick of it. She wasn’t drinking. She was trying to change her life at the time, and I wasn’t making it any easier. So, she just packed up and moved back to Bella Bella, leaving me here. I was an adult by then.”
Having nowhere to go, KC reached out to his Aunt June, who worked for Covenant House Vancouver at the old Drake Street location. She helped him get into the Crisis Program there. KC stayed at CHV for approximately a year.
“I wouldn’t say that I was nervous; I just felt a sense of unbelonging, anywhere really, even there. At the beginning part of it, I absolutely hated being there, just because I felt like I needed to be somewhere different. But, hey, I got myself in this situation.”
“I did some art while I was there. I had some sketchbooks and stuff. I met a few people there that I still have on social media. But a lot of the time, I was just on my own doing my own thing.”
KC remembers how kind the youth workers were to him and how they were always checking on him to make sure that he was doing well.
“I liked being there with my Auntie June … because she’d always come hang out and stuff. She was just like the greatest lady ever. She worked there for a long time, and she was one of the nicest ladies in the whole entire world. She did nothing but use her kindness and her light to help the kids out there. I know that a lot of kids who ended up there were on dark times before they got there.”
KC moved to the Rights of Passage program and soon after, was ready to move out on his own. “They were very accommodating and helped me out. They helped me save money during the time that I was there, and helped support me for a few years after leaving.”
The following is a time-lapse video of the second mural of the Raven creation story, found in the Drop-In Centre. The audio below it, narrates the that part of the story. You can adjust the volume of the video, should you wish to play the audio simultaneously, for a multi-media experience.
Listen below as KC speaks about the Raven’s creativity
The Raven, part 3
In 2012, KC enrolled in the Northwest Coast Jewellery Arts program at Native Education College. Here he was introduced to the Northwest Coast formline.
“Basically, I spent the first four-and-a-half to five years just studying formline, until I was able to do it efficiently. KC was already well versed in the graffiti style of art, so once he felt confident in his formline, he was able to combine the two forms to create his art on a variety of surfaces.
“For the next few years, I was trying to see how I could make those two completely different genres of art mesh into one and have it work well. And then once it was working, well, it became sellable on its own. I’m not typically doing it just for it to be marketable. The reason that it’s marketable is because I love what I do and the attraction brings it.”
Like many, KC lost his warehouse job during the pandemic. During this time, he became a full-time artist.
When they called me back the following September, at that point, I didn’t need to go back because financially I was okay and the artwork that I was doing had this snowball effect where the demand became super high and now it’s even getting crazier.”
“After 10 years … I’m finally sitting in my studio, just doing what I want to do, because I can.”
When asked to paint the murals at CHV, KC incorporated the Raven into his art because it’s his family crest, his grandmother was a hereditary chief of his nation, and because he wanted to pay tribute to his Aunt June.
The murals at the Drop-In Centre, not only bring warmth and comfort to the space, but the Raven story is very metaphoric for many youth who come to CHV. For many, it’s a new beginning—a transformative time where youth make discoveries and bring light into their lives, as they create hope-filled futures.
Listen below for KC’s final thoughts: “Don’t let your light dim”
Explore KC’s art in more detail by clicking on the images below
Discover more of KC’s amazing art at https://www.instagram.com/kc_hall_art/.