Interview: Hayden Kays in Dubai

We speak to British artist Hayden Kays ahead of his Dubai trip

One of London’s most exciting artists Hayden Kays is bringing an exclusive adaptation of his successful new solo exhibition The Top Ten to Dubai on May 13. For his first exhibition in the United Arab Emirates, he will take over Tribeca Bar and Kitchen to perform an artist edit, distilling his sell out The Hot One Hundred down to just ten pieces.
We spoke to the 29-year-old artist about being inspired by Dubai, showbiz friends and what’s next for him.

Tell us about your career path up until being a successful artist.
I’ve always known I wanted to sell art and I have been making art forever. I had to be commercial about it. I couldn’t just be sitting in a room making paintings. I had to get myself out there and make sure people knew. I had to make sure I could make money.
I started selling work at college so about 14 years.

How would you describe your art to people who don’t know much about it?

You’d have to come and see for yourself I think firstly. I’ll talk you though it if you come.

You say Dubai is inspiring. What are you plans for when you’re here?

I’m really excited to come because I’ve only ever stopped there on a connecting flight and even the stopover was a glamorous one, it’s a beautiful place. It’s a land of design, excess and luxury. I’m excited to see it all. The name of the touring show is The Top 10 but I’m changing it according to what part of the world I go to. I’m hand-embellishing fibres. There are going to be prints totally unique to Dubai.

You recently donated two framed signed artist’s proofs ('Those Who Suffer Love' & 'Look In My Love') to the Hepatitis C Trust. What made you get behind the project?
I got GBP1800 for charity with two small prints. Sadie Frost got me involved. She’s bought my work in the past so I wanted to do something for a charity that’s close to her heart. I don’t have an aim with my art it’s just to make more and bigger and sooner. I think everyone in Dubai is on a similar wavelength. Bigger the better, size does matter.

You have celebrity fans like Douglas Booth, Harry Styles and Sharleen Spiteri:. Is it annoying that they're often mentioned in connection with your work? And are you friends with them or did they simply hear about your work?
I was friends with a few people. It’s weird how people find my work so synonymous with celebrity. I’ve sold to hundreds of people but obviously the media only wants to talk about famous people. I suppose living in London, it’s the capital city, so there’s lots of successful people in London. And a few of them happen to be famous successful people. As long as people are talking about me I don’t mind what they say.

You recently posted a less than complimentary picture of David Cameron on social media, in the lead-up to the UK General Elections. We take it you're not a fan?
I have voted. I don’t dislike David Cameron, I dislike politics in general in our country. I think we’re left with very little choice. You can’t choose where you’re born and a lot of where you’re born depends on your future. I don’t think that should be the case. Whoever is born in what situation should be able to help themselves.

Where next for you in the world on this tour with your work?

I’ve got no plans, but part of the plan going over there is to make close connections with people in the art world. Friends of mine have got a lot of contacts and are doing exhibitions. I’d like to do more work in the Middle East. I think it’s a thriving part if the world, creatively.
At the moment I’d like to go to Holland I have a big fanbase in Holland. I’ve not done a show there before. America as well. I’d love to do New York or LA. New York preferably as it seems to be similar to London. Vibrancy, creativity and energy.

Which artist's work are you a fan of?
JR… he’s an amazing artist. I’d like to meet him. If I go to New York I’ll try to get in touch with him. I’m putting it into the universe, hopefully he hears me.

With Jude Law, Jake Chapman, Chris Martin, Matt Smith, Lily James, Noel Fielding and Billie Piper as fans of your art. What do you think it is about your work that resonates with young influential types?
My work’s very honest and I think people admire honestly in a world full of lies and rubbish. I think that resonates quite deeply with a lot of people. I trying to tell the truth about myself and my vision of what I see in the world. A lot of people feel misled.

The Kooks recently used your Sending My Heart artwork on their latest album. Which artist would you love to do the same?

The Beatles. Or Paul McCartney. I do get involved with Paul McCartney I’ll be a happy boy.

What do you look for buying art?
The best thing to do is always buy something you truly like. You only fall down when you buy something for investment, or for ulterior motives. You can’t go wrong if you’ve got something on the wall you like looking at.

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