About JD Hall
I was born up in a hollow in the hills of Eastern Kentucky where for those living there each day was a struggle to survive. Therefore many of my family, neighbors, and kin thought it very strange that someone from here, the mountains, would chose a life of “art”. My father, although he made every attempt to make a way for me to do what I was called to do, asked me very pointedly one day near my twenty-first birthday, “Why do you do this thing?”. I answered then and the same is still true today, “I am called to do this thing and I must do it above all other things”.
There is no open culture of the arts in the mountains per se, most of the world would see quilting, carving, making of decorative useful items as folk art, whimsy, and handcrafts. It is all that the farming-timber-coal industry, environment, and social mores would allow. Time and talents were too scarce for that which did not directly put food on the table, clothes on the back, or shoes on the feet. But I was called to record, interpret, and depict the people, the land, and this place called Appalachia.
The landscape must be seen in its true light of all the seasons with its colors and harmonies. The people must be seen for their hopes, dreams, ambitions and desires filtered through the lens of who they are and what they do at home, at work, in the schools, at play, and in the church. It must be definitively shown how the land and the people are so inextricably intertwined that where they are, their sense of place, is who they really are in the end.
I was called to do this, to tell this story, to show this picture of our place nurtured in the womb of the mountains. The mediums I use are time honored and sure, with a palette that is rich but some may say sparse as the land requires. The scenes are ordinary, everyday, and yet timeless and monumental in what they say of the human condition. It is an awesome task and one not to be finished in just one lifetime, by just one person, it must be carried on by others and taken to the end of the tale.
I am humbled that I have been called to this and I still work with an urgency that comes from mortality. I hope you enjoy these scenes, feel you know these my people, and I hope your life is richer and fuller for having been my guest.