Charles Hearn | Point of View

Charles Hearn lives a full life. Full of family, friends, expression in the form of art. He was kind enough to let us share part of it here with you. More information about Charles can be found at his site,

Where are you from?

West coast, I grew up moving around Southern California, from Compton to Huntington Beach. Went to Berkeley for college.

Where do you live?

I live in New York City, I came here for Graduate School after cruising in LA for a year when I finished college.

Why art?

Cartoons are art, and I loved them when I was a kid. I always wanted to be a cartoonist, or comic book artist.


Why graphic art?

Graphic Art at its best is beautiful and communicative. It is hard to manage the message and keep it visually appealing, I like the challenge. I am also kind of a fiend for visual material. With graphic design you can create a sort of feel for something, like a visual poem, it all has to vibe, and if it doesn’t that has to be intentional. So the point is to call on enough references to what people have seen so that they let their guard down and let the story or the message through. That involves being the producer and the consumer at the same time. Creating something is more gratifying than just finding what other people have done and using it to define yourself or what you believe in. Though there is a communal need to have shared experiences and using that helps us share ideas.

Where do you see art?

In the hands of my friends and peers, hopefully enough of a critical mass occurs where it can be more public but for now I just make Fine Art for myself. Graphic Design for money, and I like the idea of BMX as performance art. It is creative, individual and constantly being documented, it has its own traditions, vocabulary and stars. All of the so called alternative sports are sort of sensational, we do them to be seen, to express ourselves. Since it really isn’t about points or winning, what else can you really call it.

What are some daily, weekly, monthly, yearly inspirations?

I am inspired by the elements, mostly water, but they all sort of define our senses so they are the most fundamental inspiration. The moment right before going to sleep I get my best ideas, usually don’t act on any of them and wake up confused about what to do with myself. Friends, family, a desire to have an entertaining highlight reel. If we do get to have it flash before our eyes, I want to sit there with popcorn at the edge of my seat. I often feel out of bounds some how, like I don’t really identify with a lot of pop culture at all, and friends are grounding when you feel like you just want to peel away from the banality of most of what people obsess over. Those moments when I can really identify with someone very different from myself, that split second when the hair on the back of your neck raises because you can see someone understanding something you’ve said or shared is a real high.

Filmed by Tyrone Williams. Edited by Charles Hearn. Song by Jorge Ben Jor, “Domingo 23.”

What’s the day gig and what’s the night gig?

I am a freelance graphic artist, so its hunting down the biggest bite to eat. I have had some pretty interesting clients, the biggest is Time Inc. but I was a city employee for NYC which felt good, being a citizen, learning how the city works and helping show that in good light. I am doing some stuff for Harlem too, plaques, comic books about Harlem’s most influential historic figures, like Matthew Henson, co discoverer of the North Pole. Talk about being an outsider, he was chillin’ with eskimos for half the year, and then living in NYC in the early 20th century. At night its hustle the smaller design jobs and ride. I ride a single speed every day to stay sharp. Chillin’ at Dah Shop is in there at least a few times a week, gallery openings, brown bag tall boys at ledge spots, getting clips here and there.

Favorite place to be in NYC?

At home with my wife and kid, Rockaway beach same company, then probably the Banks but we won’t be going back there ’til like ’14.

Who are some of your favorite people in NYC. Why?

The homies, I could name people but the list would be pretty long. I guess the easiest answer is my son, Caio. He is a little savage, really smart, honest, and talented, a lot of things I wanted to be as a boy but wasn’t really sure if I was. I guess if he is those things than I was too. It will be cool to see all the guys I ride with standing around while our shorties are pushing it.

What are some themes in your work?

I like calling out relationships with my work, the waves are about how land and water interact. The war and sports imagery is about how youth is spent, whether it is recreation or violence its curious how we like to skirt right up to the edge. Some folks go over board and there is nothing wrong with that, but the way that we sort of glorify one thing and call the other a waste of time is worth questioning.


By Alana Guglielmo


By Ralphy Ramos


What does the future hold? Any goals?

I just hope to shred as long as I can, be a good example for my friends and who ever else is paying attention. I want to do fives on my snowboard, airs on my surfboard, three this twelve foot ledge on 51st street (calling it out pretty much forces me give it a go) on the 20″.

What’s your recipe for happiness?

It changes I guess, when I was twelve it was drawing ninja turtles, at 15 it was surfing in the morning, dirt jumping in the afternoon, at twenty it was seeing the world, at 25 it was freestyle rapping at house parties, now I would be happy to have time to do any of those things. Happiness is the ability to change your outlook on a situation you are stuck in, or changing the situation if you are feel like your outlook is stuck somewhere you don’t want it. Mobility, two wheels and a gear.

By      12.10.11

5 responses

  1. jaygray3 12.11.11

    Sick article and dope pics! Great example of a man!

  2. Judy Gray 12.11.11

    Awesome interview,very inlighting regarding your talents. Keep the passion alive!

  3. Monica Terrell 12.12.11

    Word on thoughts; thought for words. You are savage, really smart, honest and talented. You are a gifted and a wonderful Son.

  4. lauren 12.17.11

    enjoyed the interview because Charles was so honest in his answers. Also it was great to hear Brasilian music on a BMX site! Great video!

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    […] on The Last People! Thanks, DGH! Can’t wait to get a beach day with the little ones soon. This entry was posted […]

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