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In the Studio with Chase Allen

Deep in the maritime woods of secluded Daufuskie Island, nestled under the largest Live Oak tree on the island, sits the Iron Fish Gallery and home of American folk artist Chase Allen. Allen chucked his career in commercial real estate to become a self-taught metal artist in 2001 and is now one of the region’s most iconic artists of aquatic-themed works. Allen holds a degree in business and communications from UNC Wilmington but had an epiphany when two people close to him died and he realized that he had only one chance to live the life he wanted.

He is a vigilant believer that following your passion leads to real success and said, “Find your passion and protect it like a child.” His studio has grown from a canvas tent to a proper blacksmith’s shop and outdoor studio replete with anvils, hammers, kilns, and torches. Metal fish, mermaids, stingrays, octopi, crabs, and lobsters adorn the porches and walls of his outdoor gallery. There is an honor system for anyone who wishes to purchase an item; customers slip their money under the door.

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Goodbye to Sean Haire, A True Renaissance Man

When Sean O’ Haire entered a room, he was an instant attraction. His size alone was enough, but he had an energy about him that attracted others. He was a smooth talker and just an all around cool guy. His nature was soft and his humor was infectious. The stories he told about his life, hard work and wrestling could captivate any audience.

Last night he was found dead in his Spartanburg home. The cause of death is currently unknown. Most knew him as a WWE wrestler, but few knew the darker side that Sean constantly fought. South magazine was fortunate to feature him as a cover feature in Aug.-Sept. 2012 and will forever be grateful for opportunity to get to know him.

A Celebration of Life visitation will be held from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 13th at his home at 510 Hampton Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29306.

A letter from publisher Michael Brooks about his experience working with Sean Haire.sean_cover

I first met Sean Haire in the gym. He stood out in the crowd, as 6′ 4″ 285lb men will do. He had that look of a fighter, so I asked him if he was into mixed martial arts. “I’ve dabbled in it,” he said. Turns out, Sean’s definition of dabbling included fighting as a professional in the PRIDE Fighting Championship and wrestling in the WWE with the likes of John Cena and other superstars.  I thought to myself that I needed to rethink my conception of dabbling.

But that wasn’t all; not nearly. The more I found out about Sean, the more my jaw made its way to the floor. The guy had been a bodyguard for A-list celebrities, a Special Forces instructor and had been hired to protect CEOs.

But what finally caused chin to contact pavement was this: he was going to school to be an, um, hair stylist? Humble to the bone, Sean’s attitude is best expressed as “I’m just living my life and not buying into the hype.”

To master as many professions as Sean has done is remarkable, then to change course and embark on another so completely different is astoundingly brave. His story made sense as one of this issue’s features in more ways than one.

Sean reminded me that life is mostly about finding our way. Some jump from profession to profession while others seem to know what they were going to be from the moment they left the womb. What seems to be true for all is that each journey can be seen as a pursuit of power; not just fame or money or power over others, but more importantly, the power to determine our own destinies.

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Tally ho Y’all: Foxhunting in the South

We might go blithely by, living in the 21st century without witnessing the spectacular visual, audial, and even olfactory parade of a foxhunt roaring by in full cry. Because most “packs” find their sport far out in the countryside, their centuries-old traditions barely cross paths with our lives in the fast lane.

But such traditions still thrive all around us, and foxhunting prospers in the South and East of the United States and much of Canada. Traditions travel too, so you might someday have to wait by the roadside in Colorado or Montana as a troop of quarter horses flashes by in chase of a coyote or in India where you’ll surely want to step aside as greyhounds chase a golden jackal. Hunting with scent dogs was known in ancient Babylonia and Egypt, but it was never so well stylized as early modern Britain, from whence it came to America.

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