Kevin Hayward’s bright and colorful illustrations reveal a sweet nostalgia for the 90’s, a time of unforgettable TV shows and movies. New York City’s influence on Hayward’s work is crystal clear: melting slices of pizza, basketball sneakers and the Yankees hat. A mixture of the city’s most recognizable elements and friendly characters from old television children’s programs. Meet HAYWARD MADE THIS.
Hayward found himself sleeping through a lot of his Sports Management classes, and that’s when he decided to study Graphic Design for a while. He taught himself how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, in order to turn his drawings into detailed stickers. Find his funky creations on Instagram: @haywardmadethis – or, just go on long walks in New York City with your eyes wide open. Take a look around, don’t miss it! Maybe you will be lucky enough and will find one of his stickers starring right at you…
Thank you for doing this interview with me! I’m glad I stumbled upon your work especially because I love stickers and to be honest I spend hours on sticker hunts in NYC… Tell me a little bit about your background – when did you first start making art?
HAYWARD – I’ve been doodling ever since I can remember. In high school I always had a love for drawing but never took it too serious. Graffiti played a major influence in my life. Walking around New York, it’s easy for inspiration to spark. Once I found out that I can bring my doodles to life digitally, the game was changed. All my notebooks throughout middle school and high school were filled with drawings. I was very fidgety when I was in class and used drawing to calm the nerves. Even though this sometimes distracted the person next to me, drawing was my gateway to shut everything out. As I got older, the doodles started to get better and better and thought maybe I can take this a step further, maybe even earn a living, doing what I love.
Ok so… why stickers? What’s so fascinating about them in your opinion? I feel like a lot of people simply don’t get them, or don’t pay attention to them.
HAYWARD – Ah, stickers. Stickers are the best. I’ve always been a collector of many things, and stickers are one of them. Sticker art is truly amazing to me. Walking around this city and seeing different artists post their stickers keeps me going everyday to strive for new ideas. People tend to ignore the street posts infested with stickers and don’t really take into account the stories behind them. Each sticker has its own identity and brand behind that vinyl. Sticker hunting fascinates me because when I see a sticker and it has a “@”, this is an individual who is trying to reach out to the world, and I always look them up right on the spot. Stickers are a great way to brand yourself and a great promotional tactic to grab people to visit your business. People also love to decorate their computers and phone cases, and what better decoration than a custom made sticker?
I also have learned that stickers bring joy to some people. I do some heavy guerrilla marketing where I hit the streets and trains and hand out stickers and button pins to random people. Their expressions at first are very confused, but once I tell them I make them personally and show them my page, they get a little excitement in their eyes and the feedback is always positive. When they love one of my stickers and tell their friends or post it to social media, it really makes me happy and motivates me to keep grinding. The absolute best feeling is walking randomly down the street and seeing one of my own stickers that a friend or customer put up on a mail box or street light. This personally brings great joy to me and shows the support system within my brand.
Do you think that if you ever moved out of NYC, you would keep making stickers related to NYC? Or do you feel the environment directly influences your work? For example, if you were to move to LA, would you start making palm tree stickers? Even though I dont think you will move to Los Angeles or make Palm tree stickers!
HAYWARD – NYC is in the blood. This city has shaped who I am today as a person and as an artist. I would say the environment definitely has a huge influence on me and my work. I personally think New York is a place that never leaves you once you grow up here. If I ever did move to the west coast, I would combined both worlds of New York and LA. How about a sticker with a pigeon holding a piece of pizza on top of a palm tree? I think that would be a dope sticker! I’m always open to new ideas and new places, but I will always and forever have a soft spot for the city that never sleeps.
Do you have any artists that influence your work? Or any artists that you are a big fan of?
HAYWARD – One artist that truly inspires me is Brian Kesinger. He’s a Disney/Pixar artist who creates the best mashup and commission pieces I have ever seen. He fuses the world of Star Wars to Calvin and Hobbes as little comics, which are beyond clever and amazing. Whenever I’m feeling stuck or trying to force out a drawing, he’s a good person to look at because he thinks outside of the box. Mashing up characters with different movies and worlds is artistically challenging. He inspires me to break the barrier and collide worlds that you never thought were possible.
Another artist I’m a big fan of is the street artist Invaderwashere. Even though his style is a little different than mine, (mostly pixels which are awesome), what he puts around the world is beyond amazing. Ceramic tile art all around the streets in different countries with our favorite pop culture characters is nothing short of brilliance. His mysterious style of decorating the streets brings hope that street art is not dead and has entered a new level.
Last one… The question I’m the most interested in: where can we get these awesome stickers?!
HAYWARD – Im very excited to introduce my first online shop haywardmadethis.storenvy.com
I also just released my first enamel pin which comes with a butt load of stickers. This summer, the shop will be infested with all kinds of stickers that you can grab and show off to your friends. Thank you so much for having me! – @haywardmadethis