Painter and Illustrator Michael Haynes explains how music strikes the right chord for his creativity


Rainy Day (Childs Eyes)If Michael Haynes was in an alternate universe, he would be a rock star. However, in this world today, he is an artist in the mould of Jackson Pollock with a touch of Peter Saville for good measure. His art is bold, organic and dynamic, which belies Michael’s more introverted private persona.

“My artistic side is different from my public side. When I’m working on my art, I am a different character. It comes out in my work, this loud, energetic dynamism looking for a home.”

Part of it may be explained by Michael’s love for rock music with which he surrounds himself. Although he doesn’t play music, he breathes it, lives it, paints it.

Flux 1

“I go to lots of gigs. I can’t play an instrument and I can’t sing.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play the bass guitar for years. I’ve got a bass over in the corner which has lain dormant for quite a few years since I bought it but I’ve been waiting to get around to learning it. I don’t think I am very musical but I like music and I have to have music when I paint. In my dreams, in another life time, in an alternate universe I would love to be a rock star!”

Wisteria, acrylic on canvas

So it is little surprise that Michael is heavily influenced by album sleeve art and takes his inspiration from great sleeve designers and pop artists like Peter Saville (most famous for his designs for Joy Division, New Order, Roxy Music and Pulp), Sir Peter Blake (The Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover) and Microdot Creative (The Verve, Oasis and Suede album covers).

“I’ve been brought up loving music, so I’m into album sleeve art which is a bit of a dying art form now in this digital age. I love retro design from the 1960's/1970’s and I get a lot of my inspiration from the design and graphics world instead of the art world.

However, from the art world, Michael is a great admirer of Jackson Pollock and adapts both Pollock’s technique and philosophy in his approach to art. Pollock painted from within himself, with no fear of making changes, and even destroying the image if he so felt. His paintings had a life of their own and he merely let it come through, a principle that Michael emulates.

“He was a legend and the original rock and roll star. He changed a lot of things in the art world, shocked a lot of people back in the day.”

Michael Haynes is not out to change the world. He wants to influence your perception as he plays with space, depth and movement. As the great Pollock said, “Every good painter paints what he is.”

Rock on, Michael, rock on.


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Michael Haynes’ solo exhibition, Fragments/Flashbacks – Paintings by Michael Haynes, is at Artway Gallery, 273 Archway Road, Highgate, London N6 5AA, Saturday 11 – Friday 24 August 2012 11am-7pm Monday-Saturday. Private view Saturday 11 August 1-5pm.




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