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Spring Artist Series with Hayden Kays

Notes on Spring

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Spring Artist Series with Hayden Kays

“I went to Tesco before I went to the Tate,” says the London born artist Hayden Kays, whose sloganeering street art has proven popular with a celebrity following and art enthusiast. “I didn’t know about the art world until I got older and so I was more inspired by supermarkets and all the cartoons and cereal boxes than I was by art initially.”

Kays, who now lives by the sea in Margate, grew up during the 80s and 90s, and was therefore able to enjoy a particularly creative period for British advertising: ‘I’m sure all my work stems from that era – the copy and the jingles were really funny,’ says Kays. ‘It’s easy to get overwhelmed with negativity, especially in the last 12 months, and so I like to make things which err on the more hopeful and optimistic side of life.’

For the Jo Malone London Spring Artist Series Kays has duly obliged with a series of six brightly coloured pastel screen prints onto which he has hand written whimsical and sentimental slogans about love. Kays is famous for typing out his slogans on an old-fashioned typewriter. A prime example reads, ‘If I wasn’t straight I’d be gay’. Handwritten slogans are therefore a slight departure from this signature style. ‘I think using my own handwriting gives them a more personal feeling rather than something too official,’ says Kays. ‘And I chose colours which are very spring-like – hopeful pastels in softer tones.’ The colours have been loosely applied with broad brush strokes for a sense of energy and movement. ‘There's a feeling that they're going to change as well,’ explains Kays. ‘I quite like the idea that nothing is permanent.’

“‘I think love and spring go together. They are about rebirth and coming out of the gloom and falling in love with nature and life again.’”
Hayden Kays

The slogans which include, ‘Fall in love with now’ and ‘Love you forever and ever for a while’ are about enjoying the moment. ‘I think love and spring go together,’ says Kays when thinking about the meaning of the slogans and how they relate to spring. ‘It’s about rebirth and coming out of the gloom and falling in love with nature and life again.’ Has he ever fallen in love during spring? ‘I fall in love constantly,’ laughs Kays. ‘With birds, trees and everything. To fall in love with a moment is a good way to look at life.’

The six pieces can work independently or be conceived of as a whole, to form a short poem. But whether seen individually or together, Kays hopes that they convey a powerful sense of optimism and hope. ‘I think it’s very easy to feel bleak about things,’ explains Kays. ‘But at the same time, it’s quite handy if we remind ourselves of how fortunate we are to be warm and have food and clean water. I hope these pictures remind you to take time to be grateful.’

Spring Has Sprung

Art inspired by a fresh season