Season Two – Christina Hayes Haley

Image credit: Justin Schwartz

Christina Hayes Haley

Season 2 – Episode 10


Instagram handle @hayeshaleystudio
Instagram handle @nina_hayz
Hayes Haley Studio

Dr Christos Pavlidis

Babies at Work
Arts Project Australia
University of Dallas Gallery

Unstuff Your Life
Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections, Angela Kipp
The Curator’s Handbook, Adrian George

Art Prices – Price Your Art Realistically
Journal article Painting and reality (paywall but can likely access through Jstor through your local library)


Nick Breedon 0:00
Hi, I’m Nick Breedon,

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:01
and I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

Nick Breedon 0:03
and you’re listening to Pro Prac.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:04
A podcast where we explore the professional practice of artists and hear their stories

Thanks everyone for listening to Pro Prac today. Today we are out of the studio and we are recording off a computer in an apartment. We’re also speaking to a guest via Skype so the quality isn’t as high as we usually like to have. However, we think you’ll really enjoy this episode. Thanks again to everyone for listening to Pro Prac. And now over to the show.

Christina Hayes Haley is an artist, curator, theatre designer, educator and new mother. Christina is one third of the Sisters Hayes a trio of sibling artists living and working between Melbourne, Australia and Dallas, Texas. Christina is a gallery director of the Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery, and an affiliate assistant art professor at the University of Dallas. Christina’s figurative paintings are based on imagined and real personal histories and shared stories. Born as a fifth generation Montanan, but raised in Melbourne, Australia, by her American father and Filipino mother has led to travels both imaginary and real to explore her diverse heritage and familial stories. Her painting practice involves working with her subjects, often family and friends, through play, acting storytelling and dressing up to create theatrical tableaus. Christina graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004, and completed a Master of Fine Arts at the VCA in 2015. Christina has exhibited extensively, both nationally and internationally.

Thank you so much for joining us today. Christina, would you mind beginning by telling us the story of how you became and artist?

Christina Hayes Haley 1:52
Of course, thanks for having me. I appreciate being on here. It has been great listening to everyone’s stories, and I guess my thoughts, like a lot of people in childhood. So I am one of three sisters. I’m the eldest. And I was born in Montana fifth generation. And then my parents picked up and moved when I was three, I think that has a little bit to do with why I was drawing because the first plane trip I took they definitely gave me just a pad of drawing paper and thats you for the next 15 hours and people, people told me that I was talented. And so I believed it. And then that’s where I think it all happened. And I definitely grew up thinking that talent was a thing, which is not what I think now. But it kind of ended up being a helpful thing. Um, let’s see from there, I was just drawing. And I was first published at six years old. I didn’t know about nepotism at the time. But yeah, fun fact, my dad was a Baptist minister growing up. So he basically had a church that he was preaching to. And I got published in the church bulletin, and I still have that. And it was weird cartoon and I dont know what they thought about it. And then, yeah, let’s see from there.

Kiera Brew Kurec 3:26
Did you have like early aspirations of being an artist? At this point?

Christina Hayes Haley 3:31
Yeah, there were huge. Well, I wanted to be a cartoonist. So I filled up sketchbooks with what I thought were Funny Cartoons, but I didn’t really invest much time in jokes, or storylines, it was more of the characters. So they weren’t really cartoons and my parents was super supportive, because they felt like they didn’t get supported growing up, kind of my mum has got a long and interesting backstory of a life that um growing up in the Philippines. And, and then, and sort of like moving around a lot and not really having the opportunity to draw. But she said she was very good. So that was where that talent began with, Oh, I like inherited this. Yeah. And then my dad, yeah wasn’t really overly encouraged to draw. So they, they really encouraged me and then my sisters, and it turned out to work. Because the three of us all ended up in, in the arts. And we lived in America, then we moved to Australia. Then we moved to America, and we moved back to Australia. And I think there was another there was a lot of back and forth between the continents. And I grew up in Brunswick, back of Sydney Road for a while back in the 80s. And it was a very, very different place back then. I used to be able to run up and down Sydney road and I knew all the bakers and the jeweler and then everyone and and there was a lot of factories and you could kind of like climb over the roof of the houses and get into them. Yeah, Brunswick was a very happening place. And then my when my parents, they decided to move back to America. And we moved to this place called Spokane, Washington, which I’ve just visited. And it was the opposite of, you know a street with trams and shops and everything. It was really rural. No one walked, a lot of it was kind of a town that wasn’t thriving, it is a bit more now. But there was definitely a wrong side of the tracks. And it was like literally a walk. We live there. And that was very hard, my dad couldn’t get work. And my mum was a nurse. And then she was kind of the main breadwinner. And that had the marching band and everything. So we were encouraged at school. But I think at that point, I thought we’re gonna live there forever. So I guess to tie back to the whole art thing. And so I had things planned in my head. And then at 13, we moved to Lalor and Thomastown area. And we my parents moved there because we had cousins there. So it was like we were coming back to Australia. And it tore me up because I had to leave my best friend and like, yeah, I was American. And then we came to Australia. And then we went to a Catholic High School, and I had never worn a dress before or a uniform. And so then I had to put on a dress and a uniform. And I remember we didn’t have money because it costs a lot to move across the world. And so and it was the school year was out. So they ended up only having one secondhand uniform that we could buy. And it was gigantic (Laughter). And I had to wrap around myself and then tie it with like something. And so we were kind of poor wherever we went, which kind of ended up affecting me but my mum said it didn’t matter. She said it doesn’t matter I’ll just like roll it up, she didn’t know that you should cut the material before you make the hem. And so she just pulled it so it was a mess. And I think something and then this kind of ties into with Esther that kind of making do but being told that clothes don’t matter really affected us because we ended up in design well you know she did, but I’ve always thought about it as well like in my paintings, thinking about how you can tell something visually through through clothes and different identities. So I think having and then when I went to that high school, I was just real oddball, but somehow I was able to become popular, just by being an American.

Kiera Brew Kurec 8:08
What year was this? Was this in the 90’s

Christina Hayes Haley 8:13
Yeah, so everyone was wearing USA jumpers. And and I remember, like people were acting like gangsters at school. And it was weird, because the reason that we had moved back, like left Spokane and moved to Australia was because of like gangs, were moving their drug production up. And so like, there was a lot of shootings and drive bys and stuff. So it was, that was a very active scenario there. And so it was really weird. coming to a place where then people were acting that out, but they weren’t at all. You know, it wasn’t happening in that way there. So that was strange. So it got me thinking a lot about place and how we understand where we’re from. And I was curious about that. That identification with another country through TV, and everything, but I milked it (laughter) as much as I could I looking back. But I wanted to be an artist. So I always had that thing. So I did all the art classes and everything. And my dad said when I was probably 13 that I needed to get a job. So I started working at 13 and I had an early experience with money which did not result in me being good with money. I learned really bad habits back then. But one thing that I did do that was good as I was able to put myself through night school for drawing and painting at Latrobe street college which is in the city. It still exists, they run it. And it was great because I went after I would do art all day. And they had really great, great teachers there that helped with the portfolio and drawing and painting and all of that.

Kiera Brew Kurec 10:15
Thats amazing ike, for a 13 year old or a teenager to want to be wanting to put their money towards education, rather than, you know.

Christina Hayes Haley 10:25
Yeah. It ended up being really good. I didn’t do it straightaway. So I did that at 15. So for the first two years, I was just trying to buy those USA jumpers. Because we just couldn’t like we just definitely couldn’t keep up with the Joneses type thing. But then, when once I realized that that just wasn’t working out, because everything was brand names. Then I started saying, Oh, well, I’ll just be an artist. And yeah, lean into it. And I really believed in this kind of thing that I was really in love with art back then, if that makes sense. So that was where I poured my energy. And, you know, I went out and did all the kids stuff. But yeah, that was, I was kind of like, I thought I was a bit special (Laughter) I had this other life, you know, and so I would just take the train into the, because Epping is the end of the line back then. And so I woudl get the train in and then, you know, go into the city, and it was like a big deal for me, and then do this, like art class at night and get a Snickers and go home.

Kiera Brew Kurec 11:52
So moving on from there, did you go on to study straight from high school? Or did you take some time off?

Christina Hayes Haley 12:01
Yeah, so I went straight from high school. And I would credit it because of those classes to the VCA. And I applied to all the schools and I had help with my portfolio. I think, because I could talk about contemporary artists that were showing at the time, like my teachers at the school were like Juan Ford, Lily Hibberd and Michael Vail.

Kiera Brew Kurec 12:27
That’s so cool.

Christina Hayes Haley 12:29
Yeah, amazing. And like, we’re just playing and so I had all these names that I could just rattle off. And it I think, for a high schooler it it look more impressive. And like later, I you know, friends told me that Yeah, I said, you know, my favorite artists was an impressionist. It was a little bit of an edge. Even though I really did like, like, the Impressionists. And I still do, but like, it was just something that you could have something else. And they were really, so kind, like, they invited me to their art openings and stuff. And I remember, like getting an invitation, it was six to eight. And so I thought like, well, I’ll just go eight, because I thought like to be cool. Like you show up a little bit late. And then it was at TCB and it was closed, you know, because it was over and everyone’s at the bar. And I’m like, calling the artist, (Laughter) really embarrassing stuff like that. Um, but yeah, so that like, that was just it for me. And I haven’t really talked much about my sisters, because I wasn’t, they weren’t really in the picture as much I loved them and everything and we were hanging out. But um, Esther kind of came up after me. She was a year and a half after high school. And she was killing it with like, the costume stuff. And I remember going to this community play that she did, and it was jesus christ superstar. And she did this amazing scene with these lepers wearing these weird material things, and that was for me when I was like theater is amazing. And I really wanted to be a part of it. And then she went to the VCA and did costume design. So we overlap there for about a year and a half. Well, I guess it’s three, of course, somehow, I felt like maybe I hung around after I should have left or something. But she was there. And so I had this amazing access into this theatrical world that they had I would go through the oldest student plays, which were incredible there. And she would be working on stuff and I love hanging out with those kids in the workroom And then and then Rebecca wasn’t really in the picture because she’s six years younger. But then she ended up drawing and she was like, she could do the cartoon stuff. She thought about stories. So she was in the background, like doing these amazing drawings, and then she went to RMIT. And then you there’s that thing where age compresses. And so it doesn’t matter as much about the, the distance. So by the time I graduated, Esther graduated pretty quickly after that. And then Rebecca, pretty shortly after that, we’re all kind of kind of doing our own thing. And it wasn’t until I took on this project that was a little bit bigger. But I just wanted to paint. And I’m, but I thought that that would look lame, which it doesn’t, you can do that. But I thought it would just look lame to put a painting in there. And I had this great idea that I will work with all of Esther’s friends who were set and costume designers, and then they could fit out the space, as if it was a room. And that project really, for me affected the way I thought about my practice into the future because we did this thing where we, together I worked with, there were seven or eight of these, these artists and set designers and costume designers and I would work with each of them. And we’d both imagine the character. And then they’d go and design the space where that character lived. And then I painted the character and it was imaginary. And we didn’t know what each other was doing until we got there. And then we had the craziest install. They said we could stay overnight, if they could lock us in, and I dont think we had enough food at one point but it went really well. And it was so transformative, and people loved it. But it was really cool to listen to what people were saying. And then I was going I’m the artist. And so then they would tell me more about what they were, like interested in in the work and tell me about their families and stuff. And so from then I was like, Yeah, I got it sorted. I’m gonna be a famous artist.

Kiera Brew Kurec 17:18
I feel like around that time, though, especially in Melbourne, there was definitely a vibe about like painting not being cool and not being enough or not being in fashion. And I think that’s shifted now. But I feel like no one was painting. Like there was very few people that painted and it wasn’t encouraged. In the way I think, like now when I go to VCA and I walk around, I feel like I see a lot more painting happening.

Christina Hayes Haley 17:44
Yeah, at the school, when when I got to VCA in the painting department. I was I just wanted to be a figurative painter. And that’s what I wanted to do. And I didn’t really know how because as good as the night classes were like I you know, I’ve kind of only I mean, painting is such a process to learn. And so I only just kind of scratched the surface, and I focused a bit more on drawing. And so I when I got that studio and how it had those cubicals I like literally had had a paint book hidden in my locker. And I would like I would get there really early or I’d stay back and I’d read the and they were pretty like those seven, like $7 or whatever. And they had these exercises you could do or like how to paint a sunflower. And I would try and I wouldn’t paint the sunflower, but I’d use as many of the techniques as I could because I felt like I was supposed to have already learned that like, and I didn’t. And so I was secretly learning because I also felt I felt like I couldn’t ask, but every time I did ask people ask me why painting was what I wanted to do, or they would question painting at all. And my way of dealing with that school was to relate it to film and start painting film stuff or related to other things. And I went on an exchange to the Slade in London. And when I got there, it was so different. Like there just wasn’t that question about painting. It was great. So it gave me a chance to look back at like where I think when people talk about the good thing about travel. That was one of it. To really look at the way your city is. The thoughts are, I remember them telling me Oh, yeah, Melbourne. It’s like super intellectual. And so like you can you can paint here and you don’t have to be able to talk about it. Which was a relife because I didn’t know how.

Kiera Brew Kurec 19:44
It’s amazing that you took that as an opportunity to put your paintings within a expanded situation as well. Yeah, rather than just being discouraged to paint.

Christina Hayes Haley 19:56
Yeah, the combination has always been wanting to be involved in something very collaborative and then also want to have, like paint on my own, that working with people and then not because I do believe you can achieve a lot so much by working. If you can’t, like, yeah, the things that you can’t do as an individual that you can do together so.

Nick Breedon 20:21
And so what was the so after you did the project with Esther what was the first kind of project where the three of you worked together for the first time?

Christina Hayes Haley 20:34
That was, she got a job, and I can’t remember it was with Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith. So independent theatremakers. And she was kind of interning for them for a little while. And then they gave her more and more responsibilites, because I caught on that she was kind of, like, good and was going to do stuff and show up. And it was too much for her to do. It was like asking too much. So she asked me and Rebecca to help her in various ways. And so me like secretly wanting to be involved in theater, I was like, going home. And so we all jumped in. And we worked with them. And they started calling us, the Sisters Hayes. Because we’d show up. And you know, they were dramatic about it and stuff. It was like a little bit of the Brothers Grimm type thing. Then they officially asked us to do a set design. And that was that La Mama, and it was called The Flood. And it was a play about a family drama. And I was like great now I get to live out my dreams painting a backdrop, which is how I thought I was gonna make money as a painter I was, like, I made friends with people that did that. And there was like a couple of companies in Melbourne, you had to work so hard, and you didn’t get to make a lot of choices about what you were doing and it was very technical I didn’t understand that process. We ended up working at the Malthouse on a play called Blood Wedding. And because they’d seen some of our work at the La Mama and, and by this point, Esther and Rebecca and I were like, seriously working together. And we would always try and like, how do we bring the handmade? Or how do we bring these kind of nostalgic elements into where there is this real push to have like, none of that, if that makes sense. I mean, not that people weren’t, they were interested to have it. That’s why they wanted us there. But yeah, that’s when Next Wave happened around that time, where we, we signed up for that was 2009. And we got to do our own sort of theater art show there.

Kiera Brew Kurec 22:48
Were you still having your own practice on the side as well, or, like we kind of juggling both or was one taking priority, and the other one kind of on the back burner?

Christina Hayes Haley 22:59
They could never really be concurrent. It wasn’t possible to do like, at the same time, because with the theater work, you’re there like this design element time where, which is one of my favorite times where you’re just dreaming up ideas and everything, and then go into production. And then once you’re in production, you really do have to give everything to that. And even though there was three of us, we felt like we couldn’t get it all done. So I don’t know how half the time designers do. They just work so hard, like people do 18 hour days, and um, you know, that kind of thing. But as soon as that the show was over, I was like, switch to painting and like, then try paint a solo show or something like that. So there was that element.

Kiera Brew Kurec 23:51
So you’re now the gallery director of the Beatrice M. Haggerty gallery at the University of Dallas, can you kind of fill us in with what has happened between the Next Wave show there was studying a Masters in there as well. And then moving back to the States, and now working within the arts as well.

Christina Hayes Haley 24:17
So in 2016, while I was doing my Master’s, I was in a long distance relationship with my now husband, and he had the smart idea to send me a list of artists residences in Dallas, as a way to pique my interest to come over. So I ended up doing a residency in Corsicana, Texas. And it was really great painting residency for me like that’s why I turned it into had all the natural light I wanted and I got to like meet cowboys and sheriffs and stuff and paint. It was living the dream. And while I was there, I had this idea to put on a event, kind of like a show where we made chili and I invited people to talk about the building that I was in this oddfellows building. And one of the people that came to that was a painting professor from the University of Dallas. And she came along and invited me to an artist talk at the school. And so I said, sure, that will be great, because she said, You know, I can’t give you much 200 bucks or whatever. And we had a good talk. And then I got married to Christopher. And I’ve, you know, made the decision that we will move to Texas, because basically, Texans Don’t move (Laughter). So they just love Texas. It’s like, Where else would we live like, so I came here. And I didn’t know what I was going to do for work. I met the Dean at the time. And he said, Do you know how to I mean, you know how to paint. But do you know how to hang paintings? And I was like, sure. And so he said, Look, we’ve got a job going, do you want to apply for it? And I showed up, I did application showed up six people there to interview me. But the painting Professor came along while I was there, and she made me feel calm. And just, you know, because she was such a great person. And the interview went well, and they’re like, yep, you’re hired. And I’m probably just to be a little bit honest. I didn’t really know how to put paintings up like that well, like, I didn’t really, I wasn’t interested in that. I really was like, I’m a painter, and I just want to paint and I ignored a lot of all that advice we did in professional practice, or I just didn’t really find it and stuff where people seem to know how to already do it. I had to learn a lot. And the show that I got in we borrowed from another university, and it was like Andy Warhol and Jim Dine. Like, yeah, it was a real big learning curve.

Kiera Brew Kurec 27:05
That’s incredible.

Christina Hayes Haley 27:07
Yeah, curating I had done some one thing I hadn’t mentioned is, when after I left university, I volunteered at Arts Project Australia, because I wanted to be an artist assistant. And I wanted to be, and I had like, an opportunity to be an artist, painters assistant. And then I also had like the opportunity arts program. So I chose Arts Project, because it was a fantastic place to work. And I met so many great artists there. And one thing that they have a studio, people haven’t been there, and then but they also have a gallery, where the studio artists exhibit and I was able to have some opportunity to curate as someone with no experience.

Nick Breedon 27:54
So what have been some of the biggest challenges or things that you have needed to overcome to contiune your practice?

Christina Hayes Haley 28:01
As a lot of people have mentioned that one of the biggest challenges is how do you support yourself to do all of that, that work? And I have to say that the financial thing I did, I was able to find creative ways that being able to make work, but they the creative ways is like not having housing, or you know, like house sitting / being homeless, at times, but in a really comfortable way of being homeless that I was house sitting really nice houses. But it was like, a six month stint or three months. And then I’m like, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. These next the next month, move home a couple of times. There was a really fun time when my Mum was like Oh, yeah, you can come back, but I’ve definitely rented out your room to some students. I also have had physical things I had talked about the teenage years, I had endometriosis, and I didn’t know what it was at the time. But I had really bad cramps, and I couldn’t function like two or three days, every, every month. And it was really dismissed. So I had this weird relationship with my body where it was like I was feeling like an incredible amount of pain. And people like I would go to the school secretary and say, like, I can’t be here anymore. Can you call someone or I need to leave. And they’re like, we all get our periods. I was really lucky that my dad had heard someone talking about more research into that and hooked me up with some doctors and like got surgery at 18 but it kept kind of coming back and also just working with the sort of medical establishment as a woman hasbeen hard. Various things you mentioned I’ve got a little baby, which is really great. And then she, she was kind of hard to come by. But also, I had an incompetent cervix, which is the most hilarious name. So I had on four months of bedrest in the hospital because by like gravity, like I wasn’t able to hold her in. So I was stitched up by an amazing doctor who’s really great but it didnt work, so that all of the pressure of the my uterus and the fluid and her were like pushing down, and so she would have been basically pre term going up against things like that have always been tricky, I have also had fibroids. And so one of them burst like it burst I didn’t know that. So I knew I had fibroids, but no one told me some of the consequences. And it was like the worst pain I’ve ever felt. And then when I went to a doctor and said, hey, I’ve got like that busrt inside of me. And that was really, like I wa in hospital and stuff. And he was like, Yeah, um, you know, they might birst again, but you know, surgery is painful, too. So we’ll just leave them in wait and see.

Nick Breedon 31:22
Oh gosh!

Christina Hayes Haley 31:24
Um, so just like, I think those things, when you don’t know how you’re gonna pay for it, you go, Okay, all right. So you don’t have to have surgery cool, because surgery costs money. But then at the same time, like you’re walking around in pain, so that’s always been hard to navigate to one of the things I did do is have health insurance, even in Australia, like private health insurance that I was paying for, because I knew I needed potentially needed the different surgeries and stuff to pay for them. And that was a huge cost of sometimes it was like, do I pay rent? Or do I save up for these different things.

Kiera Brew Kurec 32:12
You just really highlighted that whole thing of like, not knowing what people are going through, and like physical or mental health problems that are not visible to like external people, let alone the medical field, which is another story, but like, when you’re like dealing with those things, and, you know, needing to show up for work and maintain your practice or study. That’s a lot going on. And I think, you know, it’s an, obviously, when people are going through it to, it might not be something that people want to talk about, but understanding that people within our community are going through a myriad of different situations, and to like, have space and allow, like, have flexibilities with schedules and things like that, so that people can actually, you know, live their life and not have extra pressures where they don’t need to be I guess.

Christina Hayes Haley 33:26
Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely I’ve had very kind people like the understanding or know what it is like for different things so that you could kind of get through because I think some of those early impressions were just like that, you know, I was talking about when people saying, well, that’s not a big deal, or your pain isn’t real or whatever. You kind of internalize some of that stuff. And then, and yeah, and when you have like a big production meeting, or you have like an, you know, your shows opening, and you have three days to install, and you can’t get up and do this. So that was tricky, but I think one of the biggest things that was tricky is like, constantly having high absenteeism in a job that I was also taking, like, you know, jobs that I was also needing to take time off to make art. So that was tricky to navigate and advocate for myself with I have found it incredibly difficult to come to a point where I got the help I needed so I didn’t have it and that really did come when I had a child, I was able to what kind of surgeries can we combine to like to get you know, the situation going? So those are very like hard, hard things, I think.

Kiera Brew Kurec 34:47
Moving slightly. Would you mind telling us what being a practicing artist means to you?

Christina Hayes Haley 34:55
Is that that question has been interesting to me because I I have been kind of debating internally whether or not I’m a practicing artist at the moment. And I’ve decided that means like, doing the work that has been the biggest thing is just having time to make work. And it was weird because I decided that I didn’t have to have like the next shows scheduled in like their, you know, requisite like year or eight months or whatever, or even two years. And just being able to sustain some time, whether or not I don’t even want to say like each day or week, but just in your life, having time to make work. And I was really glad that I heard an artist when I was 18 or 19. That said that when they graduated from school, they didn’t have a show or anything. For a couple of years, they didn’t even show anyone their paintings like so they they kind of let a few people in to see what they were working on. And then ended up having a show four years after. And something about that really stuck with me because I didn’t really, I didn’t really believe that, like, I realized, now I thought you know, just keep going and just keep doing and your next show is bigger. Or I think that I remember someone saying, you know, your next show doesn’t have to be bigger, it can be smaller, or like doesn’t have to go in this certain line. So I think, yeah, making work or thinking about making work.

Kiera Brew Kurec 36:32
So we kind of touched on this before we started recording. But our next question is usually, what does your practice look like and as you’ve just said, is looking quite different now, too, as it has in the past? Did you want to give us a day or a week in your shoes, either from what it’s looking like at the moment or any other point in time?

Christina Hayes Haley 36:54
At the moment. I will start with at the moment at the moment, I’m working Monday through Friday, and I wake up at 4am and a roll out of bed, doing whatever writing emails or like creative thinking or planning shows and all this kind of stuff that I can’t be interrupted for me do well, and I’m drinking coffee, although I can’t drink as much coffee now because Edith gets reflux. So I kind of spend that time and she usually needs to feed twice between 4am and 9am. So I’ll go back when I hear her cry and feed her and then she just she sleeps, she sleeps the heaviest then. And then we head off to work. So at nine, and it takes me about 30 – 40 minutes depending to get to school and I teach my first class at 10am. So normally I’ll have packed up her things and my things. And we get there and I’ll meet a babysitter often in the parking lot. The idea is is that I she comes to work with me I set up there was a storeroom that I converted into a mini daycare. And so I hire university students who are amazing to look after her, usually from 10am – 3pm. My work was cool with it, I presented them with a lot of information about how I will have a much higher morale if I wasn’t leaving her somewhere else. Yeah, because that was important to me. So I wanted to keep her close and keep nursing actually didn’t really want to go back to work straightaway. So that was my compromise. By noon, I stop and meet up with Edith and I feed her and eat my lunch. And sometimes have a meeting because people will come in and be like, hey, and start talking to you and try to take notes, hold a baby and eat a sandwich. And then I will usually pass her back to a one of her babysitters, and then just do as much stuff that needs to be done there as possible untill three. If we’re installing a show that schedule completely out of the window, it’s a lot harder and the days are harder for her as well because we stayed till seven, or you know, six, six, or seven. Otherwise, we leave at three because that’s usually when we both start having a meltdown. And then she’s naps on the way home. And then I get home and we play. And then I do a bit of admin stuff. See my husband have a beer. And then we’ve sart the nighttime routine with the a bath and stuff and we’re both out kind of by about nine or 10. And then we start again so there’s not much wiggle room. It’s made like socializing a little bit hard, but we still do some of that stuff. Then if I compare to before I left or well before I started my Masters I would get up have a coffee and have like, time of maybe around eight or nine, do a bit of like writing in a journal or like coming up with ideas. And then like, hop on a tram, you know, into the city that would take about 15 minutes, bump into a whole bunch of people, I had a studio at the Nicholas building, have a couple of like random bump ins with people that would be great and get coffee and cake, I was really in to cake at that time, I didn’t care about the coffee, I was their for the cake and I am lactose intollarant. So I get up to the studio and I would be like arghh my tummy why did I eat that cake! So then I get there. And I would paint until three. And then it was usually time for beers with all the other painters I had a great floor. And then my sisters were I also had a studio had two studios. So had the Sisters Hayes studio upstairs on two levels up. And then that’s where we would usually eat the cake. And then we would hang out and like work on theater shows into the evening, and then usually go out for dinner. And then work late to like 10, depending if we were in production, like if you’re in production, everything changes a little bit, too. But yeah, it would kind of be like that. And then I would walk home, which would take about an hour, because I was living in Windsor, and I worked from the city. And that was a really important time for me to just hit the pavement and yeah, and then I got home and I lived with Esther at the time and other housemates, we’d like catch up, eat some snacks, go to bed. And I miss it.

Nick Breedon 41:56
What have been some of the more influential resources that have helped you along the way?

Christina Hayes Haley 42:03
Okay, so I’ve got a couple of different ones. I’m gonna start with some books, because books were an early important part. And the first one is called painting in reality, and it’s by Etienne Gilson. And that was my first introduction to a bit of this philosophy. But this this other book, The Curators Handbook, has been so amazing, I would recommend it to any artists. Like even if you’re not interested in curating it just gives you the behind the scenes, intricate detail of putting on shows at all levels. It’s like putting a show together budgets and fundraising, contracts, negotiation publications, so that if you’re on like, it doesn’t matter. I was using this, like when I got my job, like how do I curate and run a gallery. But this is so important to know, as an artist, and I wish I had been a little bit more aware. And then this is what kind of relevant to my job specifically. But um, it’s got a great title, Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections, The Practical Guide For Museums, like what do you do when you inherit something that’s kind of unmanageable, or it hasn’t been managed. But that one is another one That’s great, because I’ve been like, wow, that’s describing a little bit about how I’ve treated my own practice. And that kind of ties into one of the later questions. But looking at that, and then this next one, man, the first time, my students asked me about how to price work, I seriously had like, looked it up the night before, like how to talk to him about it. And I wrote this really weird equation on the board, because I was tired and watch the YouTube video. And it had talked about like timesing like square inches by price, and I wrote this really weird thing and I super regret it and I am so sorry to this student. But I found this really helpful article called and it’s like slash price realistic. And it’s one of the best articles I’ve read about how to like look into pricing your work, especially if you’re not in a commercial gallery situation where someone’s coming out with those numbers for you. But or if you are and you want to be a little bit more in charge of how your work is priced to have like a negotiation with that because that is important. Like it might be important to you as an artist that you sell out your show at a rate like at a lower price to your friends and family but not to the dealer. And the kind of, there’s a little bit of a conversation and you don’t want to have like a show where everything was a bit more expensive than you thought it should be. And no one buys it and you are upset about it later and resentful, like, definitely have been, like, different situations where pricing. So it’s hard when you’re eating fried chicken all the time, which is what I love to do. I still love cake. And but I also like sandwiches, I’m like eating a lot of fried treats. So just so fitness blender, I think it’s called fitness blender is a really great like, exercise like YouTube thing. And it’s all so many videos. And they’re really great because it tells you like how long I mean, maybe all fitness videos, but it tells you how long you got left, or if it’s gonna get harder, and they’re just really intelligent about the way that they do it. And then they have like, if you only have 30 minutes, you can do this or if you like need to take really easy, or if you just had a cesarean how do you exercise then? I love them. And you can also pay, but they have so much free stuff that you dont have to do that. Yeah. So there’s that. This might be a random one, but I thought I would just give a shout out to a good doctor for your Melbourne. His name is Dr……. He takes bulk bills and all that stuff. But he was just really great resource for me. I can talk to him about art and different things. And he like encouraged me to get scholarships, go for scholarships, and things like that. He’s a bit of a photographer himself there is his stuff in the waiting room. But um, but this leads on to another thing, if you can’t get to a doctor, that’s free doctor coming to your house thing. Do you guys know about that? So you can go on and you can book a doctor to after hours come to your house. And they also like don’t charge. And that’s like a government thing that I think hardly anyone knows, they can come late at night. So if your schedule is really weird, or early in the morning or on the weekends, and they’ll give you the prescription in your house, and sometimes they even go to the local pharmacy pick it up for you.

Kiera Brew Kurec 47:43
Oh my god.

Nick Breedon 47:44

Christina Hayes Haley 47:45
Crazy, right? If you happen to be traveling and coming to Dallas, I would recommend …. . It’s fantastic. It’s one of those. It’s like here, it’s the longest running online kind of gallery resource, like you know, like remember Art Almanac or the different ones and shows what shows are coming up. But they have really good editorial stuff and they do a top five exhibitions in Texas. So biggest recent resource is It’s American based. But it applies to internationally, they have done research on how having your baby at work can really be beneficial to the workplace. And they talk a lot about the benefit. Not necessarily they talk about the benefits for the parent and for the child. But they also talk about how it increases workplace morale. It keeps people in jobs longer. There’s less absenteeism, things like that so has all those number, but what’s really great about it is it also has press releases of places that have adopted this and this success. So you can kind of read stories, but also if you’re if you’re at a workplace that needs a little bit of convincing it gives them it shows how good it’s been for the other one, but also like a press kit, so that they can go through and do it. It has Yeah, it has downloadable contracts that you can have, which are something that you can present to your employer and say, Okay, let’s get this all down in writing. What are the policies? What are the procedures? How long is this going to go for? How do you back out if you don’t like what’s going on and how do you communicate that with me so not stuck or what ever and So it has different things, a lot of them will recommend between six and eight months, because then once the child is mobile, not every workplace can cater to having a crawling like babyproofing, basically. That’s been huge. I have one more, it’s Unstuff Your Life, it’s by a guy actually got a random, you know, artists always have these random jobs. So an older artist hired this artist and said, help me with my like, crazy life with all this stuff everywhere. And he kind of realized that artists in particular, hold on to things because you can use it for a project or sentimental or you can do this or that, or he just found it like to be a bit of a trait. And that the artist also had a hard time, like, maybe letting go and it could weigh you down, or you just get rid of everything. And then you like, regret that. Um, so he goes through like, chapter by chapter for like, how to organize your computer, Or like how to organize your photos, like your personal photos, so that you know, like, you can access things. And then also, like, what do you do if someone gives you a sentimental gift? Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 51:26
So if you could travel back through time, to the start of your career, or when you were going to night class or doing some drawings on the airplane coming across to Australia and give yourself some advice or tell yourself something that you know now, what would that be?

Christina Hayes Haley 51:48
Okay, the first one super practical thing I would tell myself is to, to archive a little bit, you know, your pay attention to your own documentation and, but keeping track of your own career, a little bit in terms of that, because I like before I even like when I moved to Dallas, I held a studio sale, and I can’t remember who I sold work to somone on Instagram, and I said, My work is hanging next to Christina Hayes’s painting. Oh, I forgot that, that my painting was in that house or different things. And so the reason I thought of that as my answer is because I’m doing a retrospective of a sculptor that you know, Edith has been talking to his sculptures, and the earliest one is from 1948. But the reason I’ve been able to do this show is because he kept such great records of his work, what years are made the title, made a catalogue, published it, everything, and so I’m able to go back and find all this original source material. And I was just kind of, like self conscious that I don’t, haven’t done a lot of that. The other bit of advice is, obviously, I’ve worked with a lot of people, including my sisters, and, you know, people in theater, and then you go to school, and you meet people, or you do different projects. And really, I kind of I regret, if I don’t treat people well, or how I want to be treated. Or if I get stressed, especially in like working with, for example, with my sisters, your close like, or, you know, other like good friends, and you’re close with them. And you can kind of put the kind of idea of art or making something in front of the person. And I remember someone telling me at one point, when I was working, that it’s more important to get the art done, or the theater done, or the whatever it was we’re working on. And it wasn’t true, like, that wasn’t more important, like the person was more important. So that’s been something that I feel like did take a little bit, I’m like I’ve just made that I regret that or made that mistake of just not just not being kind like you can always try and be kinder and the work, you know, will be there or you can still get it done and you can probably get it done better by that. And then if you are starting to like to get very stressed, or very tired or lash out and stuff to step back, take a break or whatever. Because also the other thing is I’ve definitely seen a lot of accidents happen at those points as well. And so it’s just all about like, looking back at that and sort of saying what would have happened if we would have taken a break or been nicer or treated the other person like better Sending thank you notes in whatever form that you do that is something that I’ve always like I try and do, but sometimes I let it take forever. So that would be other things like Christina, just write that thank you note or get it to them. So really do appreciate people, but it’s easy like I was talking before, or that I do this next thing is easy not to remember to do that. And that’s one thing I really loved about working in theaters when the production like when I was opening night, people would get little thank you notes, and flowers or whatever. And it just was so nice to acknolage the other people generally. Yeah, bringing that into wherever you are.

Kiera Brew Kurec 55:48
That’s a really nice sentiment to finish on. And I think, yeah, sometimes it can be. The stress of the environment takes us away from the humanity of like, why the hell are we actually making art in the first place, it’s to communicate with others. And the least we can do is be kind and considerate in being patient with those around us.

Christina Hayes Haley 56:13
Yeah, yeah. It’s a nice thing. And you work with people again, or you don’t. But yeah, taking the time to thank people has been really rewarding.

Kiera Brew Kurec 56:24
Thank you so much, Christina for coming on Pro Prac. And we are so happy to have you on the show and to finish 2019 and have you as a guest. So thank you so much.

Christina Hayes Haley 56:36
Thank you, and thank you so much for doing this. So great for all of us listeners out there. I’ve become such a big fan. So thank you.

Thank you so much for being on the show.

Nick Breedon 56:49
This episode was recorded on the land of the Lenape people. We pay respects to elder’s past, present and emerging.

Kiera Brew Kurec 56:56
Thanks for listening to Pro Prac. You can listen to other episodes and subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can stay up to date with what we’re up to on Instagram at @propracpodcast, or send us an email at