About Walter Hayn

Originally from Durban, South Africa, I have lived in London since 1997, and balance part-time school art teaching with working out of a studio in South East London. My body of work – larger paintings on canvas and sculptures – arises out of many smaller drawings on paper which I post regularly on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/walterhayn/) and I regard the drawings as ‘seed ideas’ which may potentially grow into the larger works. In recent years I have been painting and sculpting using a variety of unconventional media such as industrial silicone, fillers and bitumen, and I also continue to use more traditional oil and acrylic paints. In this context, and somewhat due to the colour restrictions of the ‘unconventional’ materials, I normally prefer a monochrome palette in my painting and sculpture. This is not just a practical concern, but also because I have found that the subjects I reference means that colour adds an additional unnecessary element. For this reason I have been using mostly just black, white and greys.

I am inspired largely by the bible and my Christian faith, and I deal with a variety of sub-themes through this prism. I am conscious of the way biblical stories have traditionally been used in an illustrative or narrative way throughout history, such as in altarpieces and in manuscripts and books, and so endeavour to depict iconic biblical events or themes in new ways, by using evocative materials, and by interpolating biblical symbols and events with suggested outcomes and contemporary applications, not to change their meanings, but to show their universal relevance. One example might be the expansion of a mustard tree seed (a very small seed which was used as a measure of ‘faith’ by Jesus Christ), into a giant, planet-like seed, in a painting. This might hint at the faith that is needed to bring healing to the earth. Another example might be the imagining of Jonah about to be swallowed by a whale and his trying to evade it, thus alluding to the effects of environmental damage due to human-kind running, like Jonah did, from its responsibility.

In this way my sub-themes such as: concerns for the environment, the evils of xenophobia and racism and the connections between faith and other contemporary disciplines and concerns emerge out of widely encompassing biblical themes. I am working to build a body of work towards a solo exhibition in the near future.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

J. K. Rowling

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss

Let’s build something together.

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