Stephen L. Hayes was in the 2nd grade when his mother put a real workbench with tools in his bedroom and he’s been making objects ever since. A native of Durham, Stephen received his Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University (2006) and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design (2010). He has participated in residencies at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York, the 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia, South Carolina, and just completed a 13-month stint as an affiliate artist-in-residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Charlotte, NC.
Describe yourself in three words?
Shy-ish, humble, clown-ish
Who or what inspires you artistically?
I’m inspired by life experiences – I could be riding down the street and see something on the side of the road, pick it up and make something out of it. Or the music I’m listening to might inspire me. I tend not to look at other artist’s work for inspiration though.
Where can we see your work?
Right now, you can see my work at the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC through August 30; Mason Fine Art in Atlanta, GA; and on my website: http://www.stephenhayescreations.com.
Tell us about your work?
The work I am making right now deals with capitalism, consumerism, and brainwashing. I am working on a show currently called How to Make a Dollar, which is a play on the Willie Lynch letter, “The Making of a Slave.” Lynch was a British slave owner who was invited to Virginia in the early 1700s to teach his methods to slave owners in the new colony. He indicated in his letter that the way to break a slave is the same way you break a horse – take the mind and the body will follow. This statement made me think about the modern-day brainwashing and materialism of today’s youth.
What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
The most valuable art experiences are ones where I can wow my audience, make a light shine in a child’s eyes, and open their eyes to being an artist.
What book is on your nightstand right now?
Right now, my ipad is on my nightstand. I tend to watch a lot of movies, a lot of horror, sci-fi, and action movies. I am also listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me.
When did you realize you were an artist?
I’m still trying to figure that out right now but my mom knew it since I was a kid. I call myself a creative more than an artist.
Best meal in the Charlotte?
I go to three places since I have been in Charlotte. I go to Publix and get a veggie sub with blue cheese crumbles, no oil or vinegar, or I go to Bad Daddy’s to get a buffalo chicken sandwich with blue cheese crumbles and avocado. Sometimes I go to Jack Beagles and get some kind of chicken hot dog.
What is up next?
In about a month I’m moving to NY to try and pursue a career in creating art.