In anticipation of the opening of his new solo show, The Top Ten, I wanted to interview Hayden Kays about his values and ideas. But, sensing the desperation in my tone, Hayden fled to Paris and offered to answer my questions by email. At the risk of turning into Max Carlish, I gratefully accepted. The result is an insight into the mind behind the famous typewriter works and the only legitimate heir to the YBA Kingdom.
What is the art of Hayden Kays all about?
One thing it’s definitely not all about is Hayden Kays. It’s about you, it’s about them, it’s about us. I like the idea that we are all part of a puzzle we are trying to complete but we never will because you’ll never truly find the place you fit.
So we had the hot one hundred and this is the top ten. How did you arrive at the edit? And what’s different?
I wanted to make it smaller and larger at the same time, condensing the body of work down to my favourites whilst simultaneously enlarging it to add greater presence.
What do you think of Damien Hirst?
I’ve met him a few times and I wish I’d met him in the 90s.
Do you love him as much as I do?
I don’t love him in a romantic sense but I love his work and love the landscape he’s sculptured for me to run riot in.
Where do you draw the line between art and popular culture?
From the Tate Modern to the X Factor studios.
Is it hard work being an artist?
I make it hard work because I work hard.
How does it feel to have your work collected by Harry Styles?
I want my work to be collected by EVERYONE! I’m aiming to be inescapable.
Do you worry about selling your work?
I worry about everything.
In what way, if any, do you think contemporary art can really change the way we live?
If I become inescapable then the way we live will definitely maybe change…
Where is the line between being successful and selling out?
I don’t believe is selling out at all, if I was a baker and sold out all my hot crossed buns my mum would be thrilled.
The Top Ten opens at The Cob Gallery on 2nd April. Go see it, buy a hot cross bun.