Chad Hogston – Cape Fear Torch – BD Artist’s Spotlight

BD is excited to introduce you to Chad Hogston of Cape Fear Torch.  Check out his amazing talents working with fire and wood.

Cape Fear Torch

Q: Where do you live?

A: I live in Wilmington North Carolina.

marine artist

Q: What form does your art take?

A: The mediums I work in are Birch and Poplar wood, normally 3/4″ thick.  I use an assortment of butane torches to create the image I’m going for on the wood.  Once I’m satisfied with the burn phase, I will apply several coats of UV protected epoxy resin.  This brings out the grain in the wood and creates depth in the piece.

Cape Fear Torch

I will often times use a Dremel to create tighter lines, emphasis on features, or further depth.  The combination of the torch work, dremeling, and the resin create an awesome-looking piece!

wood artists

Q: What are your other hobbies, and are they related to your artwork?

A: I enjoy surfing, spearfishing and going out on the boat with the family.  I have two boys (7 & 9 years old), and I want them to grow up being watermen in all aspects.  My art naturally evolved from my love for the water.

Cape Fear Torch

Q: How did you get started and what was the evolution of your style?

A: I started this style of art roughly 2 years ago.  There was another artist that I saw online that was doing similar work, and I thought it was really cool.  I went to the local hardware store, got a small torch and a piece of wood, and took it home to have a go at it.  I did a sheepshead, and it didn’t turn out too bad!!  I was hooked at that point.  I started making different species for fun, then I began to make pieces for family/friends for free.

Cape Fear Torch

At some point, someone offered to pay me money to do a piece, which blew my mind.  I was actually getting paid to produce art?  I could not believe that would ever be a possibility.  From there, it evolved through word-of-mouth, then there was further exposure through social media.  I now have a healthy amount of commissions on standby, with new folks contacting me almost daily.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to do this.  This was just a hobby, that evolved into a full-blown “thing”!

dolphin carvings

Q: What goals do you have for your artwork, what does the future hold?

A: I have a full-time job (I’m a District Court Judge), so this is something that I do on the side when I have time.  I built a little studio in our house for the torching and resin pours.  My wife has been super supportive and tolerant of my antics, particularly now that it has become more popular.

Cape Fear Torch

One of the coolest things about it is that my son, Levi, has been watching and following me on this journey of producing art.  He is very artistically inclined, and he has been making his own pieces along my side.

art shows

We’ve even put on a couple of art shows exhibiting our pieces which were very successful and well-attended.  Levi’s work has progressed dramatically, and you can see the maturity in his work.  He is extremely patient and deliberate, and he listens to instruction.  I am very proud of him, and you can see that he loves it. very cool to share something like this with him.

wood sculpting

My work has definitely matured over the last couple of years.  I understand more and more how a flame from a torch produces particular effects on different types of wood.  I’ve acquired all kinds of self-made tools that assist me in the process, and I feel I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in what works and what doesn’t.  At 48 years old, I am excited to learn something new like this, to continue to exercise my brain and be creative.  I’ve always had the artistic “itch”, and this endeavor certainly satisfies it.

wood carved fish

Q: What or who inspires you?

A: The inspiration originally came from Dylan Stewart of Bold Coast Burns.  I consider him the pioneer in this area of pyrography.  We have talked on several occasions, and he is a fellow spearo and waterman.  I believe I started out wanting to mimic his style, but I have found that my work has evolved and matured in a different direction than Dylan’s, which I think is a good thing.  As for other inspirations, all of the underwater photographers out there constantly inspire me, give me ideas, and get me excited.

Cape Fear Torch

Q: Is there a message or theme behind your artwork?

A: The general theme of my art is obviously the ocean lifestyle, the love of the water and all things ocean-oriented.  Most people who enjoy my art are very passionate about the water, and the animals that inhabit it. It is a big tribe, and their love for the ocean/rivers/lakes is obvious.  I enjoy being a member of this tribe.

Cape Fear Torch

Q: What has been the hardest project, or what is the hardest aspect of your art?

A: Probably the hardest aspect of my art is when I come across a defect in the wood.  Sometimes I can anticipate it and work around it, or I’m able to use another piece of wood.  However, at times, a defect will pop up in the middle of a project, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  It has to be discarded and I start all over again.  I may have invested many hours in a particular piece, but if a defect or problem arises, I will not hesitate to throw it away and start all over.  It drives my wife crazy, but I refuse to produce second-rate work.  I am a perfectionist to a fault sometimes. But, that’s the way it goes.  I have been teaching Levi this lesson as well as he runs into the same issues at times.  It’s harder for a 9-year-old to accept, but he gets it.

fish carvings

Q: What brings you the most satisfaction or sense of accomplishment?

A: The most satisfaction I get from this is the process and journey of making the piece topped off with the client receiving it and being so grateful and happy.  I tell you, I never thought I would be in this position – to produce art that I enjoy making, to people that actually WANT my work and are completely stoked when they receive it.  That is a blessing for sure.  I like putting smiles on people’s faces.

Cape Fear Torch

Check out more of Chad’s work on Facebook & Instagram @capefeartorch or see more talented artists on BD’s Artist Spotlight.