Dancing with Death
CRAIG CHAZEN & KYLE BUTLER
DECEMBER 9, 2023 - JANUARY 7, 2024
Dancing with Death is the collaborative art exhibition between Craig Alan Chazen (‘Boxcar’) and Kyle Butler (‘KyBut’), who both tattoo and paint in Chicago, Illinois.
Craig Alan Chazen, born in 1985 in Buffalo, New York, has had an unconventional artistic journey from a young age. Raised in a nomadic lifestyle, Craig tattooed himself at 13 with a sewing needle. Dropping out of high school at 16, Chazen became a teen runaway and experienced homelessness in his early teens. Eventually train hopping, he gained unique life perspectives while also working in factories. It was during this time that he discovered a passion for photography. Chazen's artistic evolution continued with a significant shift into tattooing, a craft he has passionately pursued for 18 years. His global travels have seen him create art on every continent. Beyond tattooing, he has delved into various mediums such as photography, music, and painting. This year commemorates nearly two decades of Chazen's tattooing journey, a testament to his commitment to bridging the gaps between artistic mediums. From a self-tattooed teenager to a seasoned artist, Chazen's life story weaves together resilience, creativity, and a relentless passion for pushing artistic boundaries.
Kyle Butler lives and works in Chicago, tattooing at Red Devil Tattoo. He learned to tattoo in his house in 2015. He has extensively traveled the world collecting tattoos and experience from elders of the craft. He has been building tattoo machines since 2020 and opened Red Devil in 2021. Kyle’s work is heavily influenced by his study of the history of tattooing, from early American sailors and carnies, to the Ukiyo art style of Japan, to the tribal people of Borneo. Drawn to the bold, raw, and rugged simplicity of these early and evolving forms of tattooing, Kyle strives to make artwork that honors the past, and looks to the future. His work is neither new or old, but rather, forever and timeless. The need to be tattooed is a primal force: equally destructive and creative. It ties us all together regardless of background or time and place. Kyle strives to make high energy work that evokes the animalistic nature of life, love, and death.