David Hayes… Still Life. Stories.

There are two phrases often associated with the art of still life.

Nature Morte: Translated means dead Nature.
Memento Mori: “remember that you have to die.”

Still life to me is the epitome of an oxymoron.
As long as blood flows through these veins…give me an ever active life…Please.
Living in South Florida, a retirement state, it is not uncommon to come across estate sales.
Once, rummaging through the remnants of a long lived life, I had to take pause. How sad these still possessions, echoing the evanescence of another. The delicate nature of ones treasures considered indifferently for its price value.
I left with two vintage glass bottles now packed in storage.
Browsing through a local offer up app, I came across an abundance of stately antiques, priced ridiculously low. I had to contact the seller and ask why he was downgrading the value.
His response, ‘O, thanks for letting me know. Its OK though, I inherited my grandmothers estate and I have to get rid of everything ASAP so I can renovate.’
No doubt he was being pragmatic.
Will the new owners treasure their marvelous finds for the history and individual life behind as cost?
Did I mention I have stored away recent purchases, no doubt soon to be forgotten. I only recollect on such because of drawing attention to the Still Life art of another.

Yes, for some of us, some of our stuff or that of another can be memorized via a painting or a photo.
Upon viewing such, let us reflect on the arrangement, seize the story beyond an Insta flip later lost in information overload.
We turn our attention now to a mobile artist known for his Still life photography. and more. The last three images were quite fascinating to me. He includes some of the backstory preceding images.

David Hayes:

My first published iPhone image would be “Kipling – retro” which I posted on Flickr on May 26, 2011. I used an iphone4 and Hipstamatic. I had read about iphoneography and all the great apps available so I traded my droid phone for an iPhone…and the rest is history!!
Of course the advent of iPads made all the difference as well.


Kipling - retro

David Hayes * Kipling – retro


While I seem to have a good “eye” when it comes to creating still-life pieces and have been quite successful in this genre…taking first place in the IPPA 2017 competition in still-life…it’s an entirely different process versus putting together my digital landscapes. My still-life images are very set-up intensive and take very little time to photograph after they’re set-up. Editing usually doesn’t take much time as I have my workflows pretty much established. I switch over to doing the digital landscapes when I need a change of pace. I also like to keep my editing skills sharp so I like using apps like Procreate, Distressedfx, Stackables, and others.

And…when I’m not photographing I’m creating mixed media collages and assemblages or working on figurative paintings. Always have to keep changing up the mix!



David Hayes * 4453


If you look back on my earlier work it seems I’ve always been drawn to still life portraits. I’m drawn to both the simplicity and power of these compositions be in photography or in paintings. It wasn’t until I took a workshop by Kim Klassen that I totally understood how to put a still life together…and photograph it. Her class was Lightroom/Photoshop based and using Digital DSLR’s so I would use my Nikon and iMac desktop for her lessons but I also shot the same set-ups with my iPhone and edited using my iPad. And you know what? I’d be hard put to say which versions where better!



David Hayes * Over



My Grandfather's Garage

David Hayes * My Grandfather’s Garage


I used to frustrate an former art instructor who always asked about “meanings” and “inspirations” behind my drawings and paintings. I would always answer, “I really don’t know. It just happens.” This is true with my still life portraits. I’ll start with an element on my work board and just build from there. I always strive for simplicity and stillness in my compositions…and I don’t spend a lot of time building these. They just happen. I probably spend even less time editing…again just keeping things simple. A work of art speaks differently to each viewer and I love hearing what people “see” in my works. I’m always amazed…



David Hayes * Peachy



David Hayes * Plates




David Hayes * Nylon


Of Eggs and Bread

David Hayes * Of Eggs and Bread




Lately I’ve been having way too much fun building digital fantasy landscapes using iPad apps like Procreate, Stackables, Distressedfx, and Sky Lab. I can spend hours playing around with each layer…a great activity with a glass or two of wine. Talk about a total departure from my still life portraits. A yin/yang thing I suppose!

I guess the backstory for this series is that it came about from a bit of faffing. I wanted to see what I could do using the app SkyLab and one thing led to another. I started by creating a basic landscape using Procreate after which I’d use either Stackables or DistressedFx to create an “atmosphere”. I then used Skylab’s elements and clouds to further add to the story of each image. Finishing off I would add touches from Distressedfx and/or Stackables until I felt it was done.




David Hayes * Lookouts


What a day, eh

David Hayes * What a day, eh



David Hayes * Somewhere


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