"I like connecting wavelengths of thoughts and visions. When you are using familiar imagery, for a viewer it starts a reaction to the work in a place very different from seeing something completely foreign." – Jeanette Hayes
Earlier this year i-D/Vice ran a feature article on artist Jeanette Hayes, introducing her as "a dyed-in-the-wool hustler," noting a feature in The New York Times when she was just 24 and that she was:
"…making oil paintings of digital iconography juxtaposed with tropes from the canon of classical art, particularly Renaissance masters like Titian and Botticelli. Press ESC to Escape, a meta trompe l'oeil from 2013, was a painting of an image another artist made on Photoshop."
i-D laid out the success her work and instant-fame brought her:
"In late 2013, she exhibited 'Webcam Girls' at Motelsalieri Gallery in Rome, which featured a number of photorealistic paintings of iPhone screens with Venetian characters 'locked' in the background, as well as some drawings, embroideries, and a video piece. (Since her college thesis, she's featured these four mediums in all of her solo shows.) Within the next few years, she signed with New York's Castor Gallery, participated in a myriad of art fairs, group shows, and, in 2015, created the annual artist book for Purple Magazine."
"In 2015, she started making 'DeMooning' paintings, amalgamations of Sailor Moon characters and Ab-Ex forms that mimicked Willem de Kooning's 'Woman' series. The idea 'came to me organically because I'd be looking at so much de Kooning and it was just like, Oh my god, these look so much like these girls,' she told me of the paintings. 'Then I started reading more about de Kooning, and I realized he was in Japan when he was making a lot of his work. It's a correlation that no one puts together….I like connecting wavelengths of thoughts and visions. When you are using familiar imagery, for a viewer it starts a reaction to the work in a place very different from seeing something completely foreign. I like creating things from imagination, I like remaking things I like, I like making it all meet. What I love most is abundance. I like all of these things in one [artwork].'"
Artists using the work of other artists is a common part of the form, of late it has been using commercial art from people not recognised by the art world, and making a fortune from it, that has caused criticism of the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Damian Hirst, or Erro. And that's where Jeanette Hayes is, right now.
The argument is often concentrated around the expected knowledge of the audience. For example, this scene, the audience would be expected to know the original.
But this now-deleted Instagram video featured images on display in a recent New York exhibition that seemed familiar to a few people, but weren't being acknowledged on display by the artist. And they began to be called out on social media.
And there was more….
What Jeanette has started to do now is what others in her position have rarely done: started to carp back.
There seems to be a strong perceived difference between using commercially available designs and logos, which Jeanette has done in the past, and work created by individuals and used without credit or attribution without expecting the audience to know who or what it is based on — and then exhibited in big name galleries. Roy Lichtenstein was forgiven much for elevating the comic book form with his work, as Marvel renamed their products Pop Art Comics for some time.
I'm not sure Jeanette will be tolerated as easily.