Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Andrew Hayes is an artist living and working in Asheville, NC. Andrew is a former Penland School of Craft Core Fellow and industrial welder. Both of these experiences have contributed to his current work combing the rigidity of metal and delicacy of books.
Please give a short bio of the path you have taken to your current state in life through education, employment, residencies, and other artistic ventures.
I was born in Tucson Arizona and after finishing High School I went to college at Northern Arizona University and studied sculpture. The program was kind of wide open, my professor showed us how to work the equipment and that was about it. While at an iron pour in Tempe I met a grad student that told me about Penland School of Crafts. In 2002 I was becoming more interested in blacksmithing and general metalworking and found a class at Penland taught by Warren Holzman. Those two weeks changed my understanding of the material and showed me new ways to work metal that I use every day. Warren also took the class to Hoss Haley’s studio where I was first shown Hoss’ work. This moment was another milestone in my path to making, I’d never seen work like Hoss’ and I am constantly floored by what he makes.
After leaving school, I never graduated, I began working in the fabricating industry welding full time to save money and gain skills that would help me further my concepts more effectively. I would work for a while save money and quit to take a continuing ED class I used those classes as a way to gain studio access and make some work and apply to shows then go back to work as a welder. This went on for a couple of years. In 2006 I was invited to the EMMA collaboration out side of Saskatoon where I was inspired to apply for the Core Fellowship at Penland. I applied and was accepted for the two-year fellowship. I was able to refine skills in the iron studio and gain others in the vast array of media up there. I pulled on the work ethic I gained working in factories and never forgot just how lucky I was to be in that position. During Core I was able to apply to galleries that interested me and begin to grow relationships with a couple that I still work with today. After finishing Core, I started working for Hoss Haley as his assistant, which has been an amazing combination of work and education. He is a very patient and generous person to work with and takes the time to involve his assistants and finds ways to pass on skills to us constantly. Hoss is also very open with professional development questions, which is invaluable for someone like me. Currently I am working part time for Hoss and spending the remainder of my time in my own studio producing work.
Distil, steel and book pages, 5 x 4 x 3", 2012.
How were you financially able to make things work during your journey to where you are now? (teaching, unrelated jobs, selling of your work, financial support from a partner or family, loans…. please be as general or specific as you are comfortable with)
I’ve worked though out this whole journey in factories or recycling centers or at sandwich shops to support myself. I sell work through a few galleries but that is all on speculation and when it comes down to it my yearly sales probably make up a fraction of my income that would equal the amount I pay in utilities each year. I am so grateful for all the work I sell but at this point I cannot count my chickens before they’ve hatched.
In 2003 I lost my Mom in a car accident, which was the most awful thing. When she passed my brother and I where given what was to us a large amount of money. I was not accustomed to having money so I sat on it until two years ago when I bought a house and gutted it and rebuilt it from the foundation to the roof. I spent all the money that was given to me and am back to where I started but with a house. I thought it was going to make things easier and in many ways it has. The plan was to finish it and rent it and use the house as a springboard or stepping stone or something. However, things are never as easy as they seem. With that said I never forget how fortunate I am even in the hard times. I never wanted that money and would do anything to have not lost my mom but in her way she helped give my brother and I a leg up that she would never have been able to in life, and now that I’ve poured everything I’ve ever saved and more into the house I am in full on scramble mode again.
Haul, bronze, book pages, and steel, 6 x 15 x 2", 2012.
Please estimate the break down of the percentage of your time (in a week or month) spent in your studio, at related jobs, unrelated jobs, marketing, working with galleries, craft fairs, time with family and friends, or other relevant categories.
In the past few months I’ve been working for Hoss about 24 hours a week, this time last year it was closer to 40. When not working for Hoss I rent a corner of Zack Nobel’s studio and try to hold regular work hours there so I end up spending the remainder of the week there and try to take Sundays off. Currently I am working on a couple of shows so I am spending around 35 to 40 hours a week in the studio. I have a hard time balancing everything outside of the studio and need to set time aside in the mornings for dishes or bills, and I try to keep my evenings open for my sweetheart. Her name is Kreh Mellick and she is an amazing artist (http://krehmellick.com/home.html) it is hard to go back to the studio after having dinner with friends or getting comfortable on the couch with bad Internet TV. I’ve also learned the hard way that I’m not the best at all- nighters and I really only have so many good working hours in me a day. The rest of the time I try to fuel the other side of myself.
Looking back at the opportunities you have had which do you feel have directed or benefited your current path the most? Are there things you would have done differently, opportunities you would not have taken, bigger risks you would have made, etc?
The Core Fellowship at Penland was the biggest opportunity I’ve ever been given. I feel so fortunate to of had the chance to be at Penland for two years taking classes and making work in the off seasons. If I could have done anything differently I would have made a website while at Penland, because I’ve not been able to make the time to do so since then. I worked as hard as I could have while I was there but I probably could have worked harder. But I hope to do things the best I can and I try not to regret too much. Your question does bring up one thing though; I want to learn to take bigger risks I feel like I take things a little to easy sometimes.
Where do you hope your career will be in five years? (Especially in relationship to the breakdown of your time spent in the studio, at related jobs, unrelated jobs, teaching, with family. Are there galleries you hope to be in? Have a solo exhibition? Have studio employees, bookkeeper, etc?)
In five years I will (or hope to):
Spend the majority of my workweek in my studio.
Make enough money from the sales of my work to support making my work, i.e. pay for my studio, materials, utilities, promotional stuff and maybe some food too?
I would love to be teaching at Penland and the other craft schools on a quasi-regular frequency.
I want to be in a list of galleries but am too superstitious to write them out now.
Have a great balance of studio and personal life.
And this is the big stretch… I really want a piece in the Whitney! Yah I’ll say it I know it’s crazy, but I love that museum and you have to have dreams I guess. I’ve only said it out loud once and have never written that thought out. That would make my day.
Feel free to ask questions in the comment section.
I think we get to where we are mostly by happy accidents. Just count the times when something unsuspected happed that changed your course in life. I'd say, just keep on with your dreams, but be open to those surprise moments. Tom
you are a wonderful soul and i hope you realize all your dreams. you have inspired me to be better.