There is a pile of bison skulls laying in Chase Halland’s Midtown studio.
Soon, they will be art.
Halland is a full-time artist and the founder of Faraway Lovely, a Coeur d’Alene business that sells creative household goods, but particularly, refashioned taxidermy painstakingly covered in vintage mudcloth and Pendleton fabrics.
Last year alone, he purchased and covered four moose, one bison, 10 bison skulls and 48 deer, Halland said.
Over the past few years, he has covered about 180 deer in Pendleton fabric and vintage African mudcloth.
Vince Marjes, who remotely markets fashion brands in California, is one of the three that are working in the Midtown studio.
Marjes said he’s observed Halland’s style and progress, and that it can only be described as resurrecting life from death and discarded items.
“He sees beauty from ashes in a way,” he said.
Marjes, who has known Halland for over a decade, said he watched the steady growth of his friend since the time they were teenagers and while traveling together as a part of Boarders for Christ.
Despite recently ramping up production, Halland said it took years to be able to devote himself to full-time work as an artist.
He grew up in Montana, and as a teenager wasn’t introduced to art through fine art galleries or paintings.
“To me, art was on the backside of a skateboard deck,” Halland said.
That appreciation grew when admiring other art forms while skating, like graffiti. That progressed to hand-sketching comics in high school.
He said art was always a hobby in some form, be it painting or sketching. It was always on his mind as he grew older, but he couldn’t justify pursuing it full-time because he had a family to support.
In 2009, he got a job at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene as a swimming pool maintenance manager.
He would sketch during his breaks, and think about art while on the clock.
With time, he said his art progressed and he tried a new medium. It was the earliest form of his current taxidermy textile art, and it was displayed in Terrain, a Spokane art show that supports emerging artists.
It took off.
Halland sold a couple pieces in California and the buyer posted on social media. From then on, its growth snowballed.
It got to the point where Halland couldn’t keep up with demand and hold down a full-time job, he said. It was time to make a critical decision — whether or not to pursue art full-time.
He said, about three years ago, he and his wife were at peace with the transition.
“I’m a Christian and I always felt like God has put this calling upon my life to do art,” he said. “I knew I was supposed to do it and it was almost like I was being disobedient because I wasn’t doing it.”
Marjes said he’s watched Halland grow his passion from a hobby to a trade that provides for his family.
“That’s something to take note of,” Marjes said. “To take that leap of faith and say, ‘No instead of me fishing poop out of a pool at the Kroc, I’m going to go do art because that’s what I’ve been called to do.’”
Halland said patience and conviction has been his saving grace on his path to selling artwork professionally.
“I’m not doing it to please a certain person. This is what I feel like I have a passion for,” he said. “It’s something I need to do.”