Artist Spotlight: Jennifer Hayes at Cielo at The Four Seasons
St. Louis artist Jennifer Hayes is all about color—big, bold color laid thick and textured on canvas. Her works create a hyper-colorized world that is, more often than not, dominated by curvy female forms, which she says represent her passion, a passion illustrated by the authority of her strokes with the palette knife.
Her work will be on display—along with the work of Firmin Puricelli in a rare showing—for a special exhibit at Cielo in The Four Seasons, Thursday, Nov. 21, 6pm-llpm. The event will feature live music by Michael Schaerer starting at 6pm and entertainment provided by Brittany Browers, a.k.a., DJ Trash Talk. Admission and valet parking are complimentary. Hayes will also be painting live during the event.
When celebrity chef Hubert Keller came to St. Louis to open a restaurant in the Lumière Casino, it transformed Hayes’ artistic career. Now you can see her work adorning the walls of Fleur by HK at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and both Burger Bar in Macy’s on Union Square and Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. Her work is also displayed at selected restaurants locally, including Prime 1000, where all the paintings are hers, including a a custom 12-foot-long triptych.
Hayes spoke to us about Chef Keller, her art included in the Cielo exhibit and why she is drawn to the female form.
ALIVE: Has there been a defining moment in your career?
Hayes: I have had many fabulous moments that seemed surreal. Having celebrity Chef Hubert Keller fly me to Las Vegas and host me for a week at Mandalay Bay to create artwork for his restaurant twice certainly tops the list. Honestly though, I’m honored every day that people embrace my artwork, love it and want it in their lives.
ALIVE: What can people expect to see in your upcoming show?
Hayes: I will be exhibiting large colorful abstracts and sensual figurative paintings. I will also be unveiling new work including a piece from my much-anticipated series devoted to the male form. After many requests, I’ve decided to create some to counterbalance my many female-focused paintings. I hope everyone enjoys watching as I create a painting live during the event.
ALIVE: Your work is often of the female form. Why?
Hayes: People frequently ask me this. You would think I would know and yet the answer is somewhat elusive even to me. I think the curves of the female body are beautiful and certainly a classic subject in art. Yet the reason I paint them seems to be a reaction to events in MY life.
There is nothing like a deep and personal loss to make you exam your life, to see clearly what makes it remarkable and strive to make each day count. After the death of my husband, I began painting the female form and I think it was my way of saying that I’m still alive—an assertion in paint that I am a vibrant, sensual and powerful woman. Those curves represent passion; they are a celebration of being alive.
ALIVE: What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Hayes: Creating is something I have to do. I paint because I breathe, because I am alive. I wish to reach an ever-widening audience and receive increasing compensation for my work. I want my work to be known, desired and collected. I am determined to ascend to the next level.
ALIVE: Pick one piece in the show and describe it: inspiration/meaning/technique…whatever strikes you.
Hayes: “Blue Bikini Bottom” (below) currently hangs at Prime 1000 Downtown St. Louis. You can see this piece glowing on the wall in their gorgeous bar from outside on Washington Ave. It is a hugely popular piece and one of my personal favorites. I love how large the form is on the canvas. It allowed me to use huge palette knives and describe the form in large generous strokes. It was an exciting piece and I can still feel the energy that created it.