Interview with Hayden Kays for Ex-Po

'Mug Shot' Hayden Kays
'Colour Full Mind Full Truth Full', Hayden Kays

I did not find Hayden Kays in the likely, echoic space of an art gallery and I definitely did not find him resting on the walls of Harry Styles’ shiny new home. I chanced upon Hayden sat right in front of me, a stranger, on the no.72 night bus. We were heading somewhere into the hard-to-reach corners of North West London. We met and chatted a little, possibly. Although I think I was probably being a nosey drunk (it was a Saturday night); curious as always. Hayden was drawing on a piece of square card with a fat blue felt tip. Somehow I ended up with what I believe to be a rather brilliant self-portrait. On the other side of the ‘doodle’, his name in bold.

Being both nosey and curious, as aforementioned, I googled the guy and have since been inspired by his prints, captions and ideas on Facebook on an almost daily basis (definitely follow him).

If you haven’t already heard of Hayden Kay’s, you might have unknowingly come across his work sprinkled around London or online.
In short? Think Banksy and Warhol’s lovechild (impossible on at least a couple of levels, but stay with me) manifested in many forms but typically illustrations, captions and montages; all embodying a contrariness which cleverly limbo beneath any wafts of arrogance.

Kays’ pieces are refreshing. They are comical yet serious, childlike and genius.                         
Rather than regurgitate facts encyclopedia style, I thought it would be better straight from the Horse’s mouth.

Hayden, thanks for taking time out to talk today. Let’s just get straight to it and get the most important question out of the way, what did you have for breakfast? I hope you did have breakfast. An army marches on its stomach…
Hayden Kays: The cold always hits me hard, so I'm entering battle with a hearty smoothie every day now.

Yaz Ross: You have a lot going on at the moment. What have you been your favourite projects recently and why?
Hayden Kays: I love and loathe parts of everything I do. Anyone that says 'it's ALL been great, I'm LOVING EVERYTHING!’ is lying or simple or both.

'Well, have you?' Hayden Kays

Yaz Ross: What drives you forward to keep creating?
Hayden Kays: You have to be possessed to be an artist, you don't choose to be an artist, it burns inside and making things is the smoke of those flames.

Yaz Ross: Van Gogh sold one painting while he was alive, a tragedy of the art world. Ex-Po is all about enabling talent to be seen and appreciated. Did you ever struggle to get your work ‘out there’?
Hayden Kays: I'm an attention seeker, I always played the fool at school, so I've had years of training in getting people to look my way.

'Art Dealer', Hayden Kays

Yaz Ross: Are you on the fence or do you think nepotism is still an issue for young creatives?
Hayden Kays: I think nepotism is normal.

Yaz Ross: Your work has a powerful combination of humour and controversy that can really make people take note, in a wake up and smell the coffee kind of way. Are there any specific areas of issues that you’ve expressed through your work, which concerns you most?
Hayden Kays: A lot of people mistake things I make as being morbid, it's not morbid it's a celebration of being here, of being alive, of being in love, of being HERE! I like the saying 'we're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time'.

'Jesus had a stable upbringing' Hayden Kays

'Sex Marks the Spot' Kays

'Lottery of Love' Hayden Kays

Yaz Ross: That’s a really positive outlook. How does your create process typically play out?
Hayden Kays: I'm always thinking about things I've made, things I'd like to make, things I should make, things I shouldn't make. Then I make something.

Yaz Ross: I’ve overplayed all of my music, sharesies?

HaydenKays: Listen to Johnny Lloyd.

Yaz Ross: What’s your favourite colour at the moment and why?
Hayden: International Kays Blue. It goes with everything.

The Kooks new album 'Listen' cover design, by Hayden Kays 

Yaz Ross: What’s up next for you?

Hayden Kays:Got a meeting about an exhibition.

Yaz Ross: Sounds good. Any Artist’s you admire at the moment?
Hayden Kays: I read about an artist that has had an implant put into his skull so he can hear colour, that’s fucking exciting.

Yaz Ross: Where do you go or what do you do to get inspiration?
Hayden Kays:There is no OFF button, it's always ON. Until it's OFF FOREVER.

Yaz Ross: Finally we started with food so I think we should finish with food.
Can you clear up this matter once and for all? Is it Scon(e) or Scone?

Hayden Kays: Crumpet.

Got my lines crossed, Hayden Kays

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