Lyndon Hayes

Lyndon Hayes has a long and impressive CV as a commissioned artist for magazines and publications here and abroad making regular contributions to The Observer, The Telegraph and The Times as well as periodicals, Variety Magazine, Wired, Wallpaper, New York Magazine and even Le Monde. You will have seen his work somewhere. 

We are pleased to be showing a series of paintings made especially for Jack House Gallery telling stories of his home town in the East Midlands but that could as easily be here in Portsmouth. Lyndon composes his stunning paintings like a spy with a Polaroid camera. Informed by his years as an illustrator he selects and shoots with an unerring eye for the interesting and quirky in the everyday corners of ordinary life. 

Stories From the North
Lyndon Hayes arrived from a small town close to the Derbyshire border to study first in the bold environment of Brighton and then going on to obtain his MA at Central St Martins in the heart of London and thus can claim strong credentials as an informed observer recording what he calls the “every day.” It is this that interests him most and he seeks fond recognition from the viewer. “Oh, I know a café like that…” and, “My dad used to drink in a pub exactly like this one...” Often, he leans toward scenes that remind him of home, or at least that are never far from a northern working class street corner.

In fact, he says he often uses established street photography to help him frame an idea, citing his strongest influence as the american Saul Leiter whose images of 1940s New York continue to astound him, the composition combined with the abstract and the sense that the abstract is an important part of the narrative. Indeed his other influences include Peter Blake and Ruskin Spear, both adroit visual storytellers.

Perhaps surprisingly, many of Hayes’ favourite writers are American but he believes they don’t effect his art. However, regarding his depictions of the urban and the apparently ordinary with a reader’s eye, it is difficult not to conclude that Hayes shares the ability to scene-snap with his literary hero, Updike.

He is shamelessly Albion in sentiment but with his paintings, the angle he takes isn’t always the obvious one. Meanwhile his drawings are powered by an illustrative energy, the detail reminiscent of the uncanny observations of that other great British art form, song-writing.

When asked what he might have done had he not been a visual artist, Hayes responds with an anecdote from that most driest of English actors, Michael Caine, whose answer to the same question was simply: “Nothing...” Hayes feels that this sums it up. Thank god, he says appreciatively, somebody noticed! Here, in pursuit of his only possible career, there is no doubt that his paintbrush is his pen.

By Justine Crow @swimble