The Reminder Paper May 20, 2017    

The Reminder Paper May 20, 2017



contact: Carolyn Kramer, Founder and Gallery Director


Painter DAVE HAY on Bears, Pop Art, and Gay Culture

June 2016, Provincetown, MA: JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is pleased to represent Massachusetts-based artist Dave Hay. Hay creates vivacious large-scale paintings characterized by dazzling colors and graphic words and phrases. His work has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions across the country and is held in private collections worldwide. Working out of his studio in a converted textile mill, Hay uses stencils, acrylic, spray paint, glitter, and enamel to fill canvases with expressions of pure pop and gay pride.

I seek to create art that confronts you, using color, space, shape, and typography to make an engaging and thought provoking visual experience,” Hay says, noting inspirations that range from Andy Warhol and Christopher Wool to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Banksy. I am trying to convey a sense of humor, wonderment, and joy! I like viewers to look at my work and smile, feeling a special second of intrigue.”

Hay’s paintings palpitate with joie de vivre and a playful sense of mischief. He channels his college years in the nineteen-eighties to infuse his practice with the energy of the first MTV generation: alternative and punk music, fashion, pop art, street art. His word paintings layer letters over letters, some stenciled backwards and others overlapping in a rainbow of neon hues. Drips and splatters give each canvas dynamic excitement and personality, contrasting with the rigid sign-like quality of the stenciled words.

These paintings can be difficult to read at first glance, which engages the viewer to look closer for sly and sexy surprise messages: song lyrics, propositions, “Smurfs and Rainbows,” “Cock and Balls,” “Provincetown Love.” Viewing Hay’s art is like leaning in to hear a conversation over loud dance music: you miss every other word but the ones you catch are alluring.

“I think that in a meaningful way, all that I create as a gay man represents my perspective and view point on gender identity and sexuality,” Hay writes.
I strongly identify with the bear subculture within the gay community and want to celebrate it.” In 15 Minutes of Gay, Hay pays homage to Warhol’s infamous depictions of red soup cans, substituting Campbell’s flavors with phrases ranging from sexual nicknames to cultural slang, from historical references to the fight for gay rights. Thus the viewer reads labels for Muscle Bear Soup, Diva Soup, B&D Soup, and Peace, Love, and Equality Soups in one giant digital print as large as an ad at a bus stop. Perhaps the artist puts it best: “Gay culture and popular culture are inseparable.”

General Information

Founded in 2014, the JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is a contemporary art gallery located in Provincetown, MA. Carolyn Kramer, Founder and Gallery Director, with her life partner, painter Jo Hay, have a clear vision and bold new approach to the art scene in Provincetown. The gallery’s mission is to exhibit contemporary painting and conceptual art that challenges the viewer’s intellect and imagination.

JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is located at 167 Commercial Street in Provincetown and is open seven days a week. For more information visit or call 508.776.0503.




Wednesday, May 10, 2006
SPRINGFIELD - Spend a few minutes with artist David C. Hay and you have to wonder: Is it blood or a mixture of red acrylic paint and high-test java that courses through his veins?

Red acrylic paint certainly dominates "Circles" a collection of Hay's paintings that will be on display at the Blue Moon Coffee Roasters, 715 Sumner Ave., until May 20.

But the frenetic energy that drives Hay is something that pre-dates the exhibit.
"I have always had a lot of interests - all of them in the arts," said Hay, an art teacher at the Glickman Elementary School. "When I got out of college, I danced (for a living). For 14 years, I taught jazz (dance). I still teach hip-hop dance. Right now, I'm just getting into video, working for Video Experts. It's something I've been playing with since the late '80s, when I used to produce hair shows."

(For the record: he also had a career as a model and has been known to teach aerobics.)
His eclectic interests are no secret at the Blue Moon Coffee Roasters, where Hay, a regular, is quick to jump into spirited conversations on just about anything. Long before the "Circles" exhibit was hung, patrons marveled at Hay's poster-sized crayon drawings, casually tacked on the coffee house refrigerator. The brilliantly colored images were remnants from his day job, as a teacher.

"My biggest thing with my students is that everyone is an artist. There's art in everything and art is everywhere," he said. "A lot of people will say 'I'm not an artist because I can't draw.' But I say a lot of artists can't draw. When you go to a fancy restaurant and get served a beautiful meal, it's all about the presentation. That's not drawing, but it is art."

Hay says the 45 pieces in his "Circles" exhibit were largely inspired by the Russian expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky - famous for his bold colorful studies of concentric circles. Many of Hay's paintings echo Kandinsky's rhythmic repetition of that simple shape.

"I like to pick topics and really go off with them," Hay said. "And with circles, they are everywhere. They represent life cycles, the Earth ... my logo is a circle that's a swirl. I think it describes me, the way I am always changing."

A trained graphic artist, Hay has always steered clear of depicting delicate landscapes or staged portraits. Whether he's working with airbrushes, acrylics or ballpoint pen, Hay favors bold lines and graffiti-esque images that are slightly off-kilter. It's no surprise that Andy Warhol is one of his icons. There are others.

"Keith Haring was all about bringing his work to the masses, which is something I really like," Hay said. "He started out showing his work in the subways (of New York City) and he opened a shop where you could buy something for $10 or something that was really high-end."

Inspired by Haring, Hay will sell the works in his "Circles" exhibit for prices ranging from $10 to $400. In addition to the canvasses, there will be buttons and T-shirts, all bearing the emblematic circles.

"I want people to be able to take something away from the show," he said.
Since he began working on the "Circles" exhibit last November, Hay has converted the kitchen of his one-bedroom apartment into something of a make-shift art studio. Stacks of canvasses obscure the kitchen table, easels have replaced chairs, and paint brushes have taken over the sink. It's possible that he eats there, but the only relic of gustatory activity in that cramped space is a polka-dotted Pop Tart that Hay placed in a Rococo frame and hung on the wall.

"It's pop art, get it?"