It is such a thrill to officially announce our newest artist Kerry Hays! Considering that Kerry has lived in the Atlanta area most of her life, it is no surprise that she chose this city, and the historical landmark – The Biltmore – to house her studio. Known for both her large-scale paintings as well as her small works on canvas that covey a sculptural quality, the intention behind Kerry works is evident. Each mark or stroke is shaped by her pursuit to invoke imagery into these musings on the interconnectedness of our seen and unseen world. The convergence of hard lines with flowing, sculptural values – conjuring feelings of balance, pleasure, light, and relief is a hallmark of Kerry’s work. She is experimental in her use of materials and most pieces are a mixture of media and rich in layer and texture. Her work is a reflection on the channels between human, nature, community, and God and her pursuit is that upon further study, the viewer sees a darkness, a chaos, a mystery, a bit of discomfort and struggle so to appreciate the reprieve, softening and restfulness that light, life, and balance can bring. We are so excited to introduce Kerry! Read more about the woman behind the artist as well as her inspirations in this post Pardon Me, Kerry Hays.
What is currently on your nightstand?
About 5 books, a kindle, a few journals. I read and write every morning and every night. A photo of my mom when she was my age, pottery where I keep my knicks and my knacks.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
Such a hard question! But, I admire conceptual artists that are making socially conscious work. A friend owns an art gallery, Larrie, in Manhattan and she knows how to find that work that will make people stop and look and think. Her latest artist is Ilana Harris Babou. Everyone should follow @larrienyc for their daily dose of intelligent and thoughtful work, all displayed in her Chinatown gallery.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
We would tape down the handle to the kitchen sink sprayer so that when mom would turn on the water, it would spray her in the face. She always fell for it! We laughed a lot but there were some very hard times in there too. There are 4 of us kids; we are all close and we still laugh at everything, even during these hard times. I have a huge extended family, spread out in about 10 different major U.S. cities, from Seattle to Albuquerque to Boston, so there was always travel.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
oil pastels. I love how rich the pigment is, and that you can either draw or really layer and mix like paint.
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
The kitchen. I love to cook and do it almost every night.
What is your biggest score online?
I was in Madrid with a friend and we scored tickets to Marrakesh last minute for like 100 bucks.
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective?
Artists need community and buying through a collective that provides that helps the cause.
What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
Do not buy art only because it matches your fabric. I actually think the less your art matches your room, and your other art, and your friend’s art, the more interesting of a person you will be.. ha! Buy art from an array of disciplines. Sculpture, ceramics, photographs, a mix will give your space depth and interest. Lastly, I recommend having a really beautiful photograph of a complete stranger who lives a totally different life than you hanging somewhere in your home. Like a geisha riding the metro in Japan. It will bring some curiosity and wonder and magic into your life, and remind you that the world is big.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
I visited the Vatican Museums in high school. I was with all of my friends, age 17, and I am SURE we were texting and selfie-ing with our razor phones inside the Sistine Chapel – shame. I would love to go back and soak it all in. Also, MoMA.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
There is a tiny, very stylish hotel in Napa called North Block. When I stayed there several years ago, it was the first time I decided my latter half of life plan – to open a boutique hotel where my friends and family and strangers can come visit all the time and my life would be a constant, working vacation. And my own art studio/gallery will be in the hotel. I also love the fireplace/bar in Crosby Street Hotel in NYC and all of the riads I stayed in Morocco. And The Pearl in Rosemary Beach where one of my favorite photographers, Tommy Crow has his work displayed. I lived on 30A for a blip in my 20s and it was such a fun time.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
I love lipstick so much. I would be pink because red seems too serious.
I can never get on a plane without….
putting on lipstick.
How did you get into the world of art?
Many of the women in my family are interior designers. My sisters did florals for years, and my aunt an artist, another aunt a very successful writer. So, in my blood I guess. One day I went and bought some paint out of boredom. I think that is when you have the best ideas when you’re totally and completely bored. I am going to make sure my kids get painfully bored so that they’ll do creative things.
What do you do to relax?
Not work on my current work! Sounds strange, because I love to make art, but whatever my current ‘body of work’ or message that I am putting out there, it truly does become work after the first piece is created. It is energizing, engaging, challenging, frustrating, fun and it gives me life. But I can’t say that it relaxes me. I am, however, a pro at relaxing. Watching ‘New Girl’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ makes me laugh all my stresses away. I am also a very avid reader, the thicker the novel the better.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
When I see an artist’s entire body of work at once in a gallery setting. Seeing that amount of work all at once is very inspiring. But, I don’t find it practical or real to wait to work until I get inspired. I am in the studio almost daily for hours and I get inspired by the process – mistakes and struggles on the paper or canvas. The internet gives us quite a slew of never-ending gorgeous photos to inspire. It can actually be inspiration overload!
Prediction for the Color of 2019?
No idea but I am waiting impatiently for a brown tone! I love brown, what can I say.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
Dinner + dancing are 2 favorite activities.
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
The piece that inspired this entire series, ‘sculpt I’ is a definite favorite. I love the endless layers and texture. I am definitely drawn to paintings that have ample layers and built up paint, pieces that make you want to reach out and touch them.
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