Hayden is a visual artist who splices together witty wordplay with carefully chosen found photographs, often subverting the meaning of both. Not one to be tied to just one medium, Hayden also works with sculpture, drawing, and printmaking.
His new show ‘The Top Ten’ at Cob Galley Camden, is a collection of the ten most popular artworks from his successful typewriter series, and will tour around the world this summer.
BM – Why did you decide to re-curate the typewriter series into this new show?
HK – I was getting loads of enquiries about the same works again and again in ‘The Hot One Hundred’ and not wanting to keep producing the A4 versions it seemed logical to produce larger print editions of the most popular and some of my personal favorites.
BM – Your work masks a poignant message under a veil of comedy. Why do you think this contrast is necessary to deliver your message?
HK – I don’t think it’s crucial. I just fucking love laughing. I have an extreme sense of humour; it’s virtually a disability. I find EVERYTHING funny. I wish I had control over it, I’m envious of people who can control laughter but I think they are few and far between, this is another reason I love to use humour in my work – laughter is convulsive, you don’t decide what to laugh at. You laugh, then you worry about whether or not you should have later.
BM – You identify yourself as a ‘Pop Artist’, when most pop art is vacuous. You seem to have a deeper ideology than just making money. Why do you identify with Pop Art so much?
HK – I think I’m becoming more and more of a ‘Pop Artist’ in the sense that my work is becoming more and more popular. Popularity is important to me. I want my work to be liked. Find me an artist that doesn’t and I’ll show you a liar.
BM – Do you believe in a high art/ low art distinction, and where would you place yourself?
HK – I believe it’s either Art or it isn’t Art, and unfortunately I see ‘it isn’t Art’ by far too many people that call themselves artists.
BM – Why do you think that you often get grouped amongst the ‘street artists’, despite doing very little work outside?
HK – Because people don’t know where to put me. We are all obsessed with compartmentalising everything, everyone, it helps us attempt to understand these terrifying surroundings.
BM – As a lot of your work is humorous, does that mean that it is fun to make, or can it be stressful at times?
HK – There is a common misconception that artists are just having a great time splashing paint around a lofty studio, smoking roll-ups and shagging loads of girls. I just smoke the roll-ups.
BM – How much of what you do is hyperbole?
HK – You can take my work however you like, just as long as you take it.
BM – Sometimes it’s hard to tell who it is you’re making fun of in your work, the subject of the piece or the viewer, or even society as a whole, is this intentional?
HK – I don’t want to make work that's instantly or easily resolved. Questions that you answer, you tend to move on and away from. I want you to keep coming back to me.
BM – A lot of your work is text and found imagery based, how do you collate your ideas. Do you sketch or is your sketchbook full of lists?
HK – I have piles and piles of sketchbooks full of ideas. I hope when I’m dead they’ll slowly all come to life as I’ll never find the time to make them all exist in my lifetime.
BM – Do you believe an artist should have to explain their work, or is it the public’s role to decipher it?
HK- I don’t think art should have to be explained. It should be simple. Ask yourself do I like this? If you do, you do, if you don’t you don’t. You shouldn’t make it much harder.