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Agency Life

The Seasoned Artist

The Seasoned Artist

Michael Carnevale

Michael Carnevale

September 11, 2018

There are few mediums he has yet to tackle.

"My goal is to spark intelligent conversation and debate, and confront topics that might make people uncomfortable."

When you know, you know. Christopher Hayden says that for as long as he can remember, he’s always been making something. Fast forward to 2018, and he’s now SVP, creative director of business development at Havas Media. He’s also an artist—and a pretty good one. Hayden takes us through his artistic journey over the past 10 years. He tells us what inspires him and where you can go to see his latest exhibition.

 

When did you first discover your interest, and talent, in art and design?

I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t drawing, painting, or creating. From creating video game landscapes and character animation to graffiti and street art, or doing photography and graphic design, I was always teaching myself new techniques and discovering my style. As far as fine art goes, I started exhibiting about 10 years ago when I was serendipitously discovered by a collector who saw one of my pieces at a gallery that I was working at.

What type of artwork do you create?

I enjoy painting, and I like to create things that are contemporary and relevant to what’s happening in the world around us. One of my most iconic pieces revolved around the depiction of a toddler holding a handgun. This obviously was meant to stir controversy a decade ago when I released it and is still highly relevant. My goal is to spark intelligent conversation and debate, and confront topics that might make people uncomfortable.

So, tell us about minimalism art and why this genre interests you.

I’ve always found it fascinating how our brains work and how we visually search for connections and meaning so effortlessly. For example, when you see two dots above a line, people will often see a face. I like playing with these concepts and letting viewers’ minds fill in the blanks on my artwork. I feel it creates a more personal connection to the piece—viewers see what their minds want.

What inspires your work as an artist?

Politics, culture, conversations with friends, other artists. I’m a full-time creative. I’m constantly absorbing inspiration from everything: subway posters, random strangers’ fashion, fine art, history, nature, film.

"I'm a collector of ideas and inspiration, and I use those to help me create work for the agency and, of course, my art."

What, so far, has been your favorite artistic project?

I was asked to create artwork for a few films when I was living in LA. It was a blast to show up on set once they began filming and then later see my artwork on the silver screen.

What’s your dream project—one that you haven’t yet done?

I’d like to create something super large, a huge installation that can be seen a block away. Right now the majority of my pieces are meant to be displayed within the building, but there is a strong allure to having the building itself be the canvas. Minimalism art on a maximum scale.

What are some topics that you like to address in your work?

I like to invoke conversations about things people feel passionately about. Love, fear, politics, prejudices, science, art, religion. Uncomfortable topics that can be shown in beautiful ways.

Where has your work been exhibited?

I’ve had art shows in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Saint Louis, and Uruguay.

Any upcoming exhibitions?

I’m currently preparing to exhibit at Superfine! Art Fair in Los Angeles in February. Until then, you can see my latest work at christopherhaydenart.com and on Instagram.

How does your talent as an artist translate into the work that you do as a creative director at Havas?

It’s almost a one-to-one conversion. I’ve conditioned my mind to pay attention to everything for inspiration. In my job, I’m constantly having to create and innovate for a different client every week. I’m a collector of ideas and inspiration, and I use those to help me create work for the agency and, of course, my art.

What advice do you have for others who would like to harness their talents as artists?

My advice would be to just do it. You need to be constantly immersing yourself in your passions if you ever want to do something with them. No one comes out of the womb painting, or writing novels—it’s done through practice and work.

"My goal is to spark intelligent conversation and debate, and confront topics that might make people uncomfortable."

When you know, you know. Christopher Hayden says that for as long as he can remember, he’s always been making something. Fast forward to 2018, and he’s now SVP, creative director of business development at Havas Media. He’s also an artist—and a pretty good one. Hayden takes us through his artistic journey over the past 10 years. He tells us what inspires him and where you can go to see his latest exhibition.

 

When did you first discover your interest, and talent, in art and design?

I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t drawing, painting, or creating. From creating video game landscapes and character animation to graffiti and street art, or doing photography and graphic design, I was always teaching myself new techniques and discovering my style. As far as fine art goes, I started exhibiting about 10 years ago when I was serendipitously discovered by a collector who saw one of my pieces at a gallery that I was working at.

What type of artwork do you create?

I enjoy painting, and I like to create things that are contemporary and relevant to what’s happening in the world around us. One of my most iconic pieces revolved around the depiction of a toddler holding a handgun. This obviously was meant to stir controversy a decade ago when I released it and is still highly relevant. My goal is to spark intelligent conversation and debate, and confront topics that might make people uncomfortable.

So, tell us about minimalism art and why this genre interests you.

I’ve always found it fascinating how our brains work and how we visually search for connections and meaning so effortlessly. For example, when you see two dots above a line, people will often see a face. I like playing with these concepts and letting viewers’ minds fill in the blanks on my artwork. I feel it creates a more personal connection to the piece—viewers see what their minds want.

What inspires your work as an artist?

Politics, culture, conversations with friends, other artists. I’m a full-time creative. I’m constantly absorbing inspiration from everything: subway posters, random strangers’ fashion, fine art, history, nature, film.

"I'm a collector of ideas and inspiration, and I use those to help me create work for the agency and, of course, my art."

What, so far, has been your favorite artistic project?

I was asked to create artwork for a few films when I was living in LA. It was a blast to show up on set once they began filming and then later see my artwork on the silver screen.

What’s your dream project—one that you haven’t yet done?

I’d like to create something super large, a huge installation that can be seen a block away. Right now the majority of my pieces are meant to be displayed within the building, but there is a strong allure to having the building itself be the canvas. Minimalism art on a maximum scale.

What are some topics that you like to address in your work?

I like to invoke conversations about things people feel passionately about. Love, fear, politics, prejudices, science, art, religion. Uncomfortable topics that can be shown in beautiful ways.

Where has your work been exhibited?

I’ve had art shows in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Saint Louis, and Uruguay.

Any upcoming exhibitions?

I’m currently preparing to exhibit at Superfine! Art Fair in Los Angeles in February. Until then, you can see my latest work at christopherhaydenart.com and on Instagram.

How does your talent as an artist translate into the work that you do as a creative director at Havas?

It’s almost a one-to-one conversion. I’ve conditioned my mind to pay attention to everything for inspiration. In my job, I’m constantly having to create and innovate for a different client every week. I’m a collector of ideas and inspiration, and I use those to help me create work for the agency and, of course, my art.

What advice do you have for others who would like to harness their talents as artists?

My advice would be to just do it. You need to be constantly immersing yourself in your passions if you ever want to do something with them. No one comes out of the womb painting, or writing novels—it’s done through practice and work.

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