Interview with Jodi Hays

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I am a painter based in Nashville, TN.  I received an M.F.A from Vermont College, B.F.A. from The University of Tennessee and studied Foundations at School of Visual Arts.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
I keep files, folders of tear-sheets from magazines,  screen captures, titles and other digital influences that I organize in my phone and on tumblr.  My “gathering” includes interior textiles, exterior structures, toddler language--deposited as a unified visual mass.  Usually parallel to titles, my work is a composite of influences often disparate yet not unintentional.

Work Force Oil on canvas 60" x 48"

Work Force
Oil on canvas
60" x 48"


What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
In the past few years I have found that I like using old credit cards or hotel keys as palette knives.  I have a jar full of “real” palette knives passed down from my mother and grandmother (both artists), but I still seem to go back to the throw-away, flexible, plastic cards.  

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
I love the work of painters who have adopted to paint a “collection of knowns” (my phrase), still within the bounds of a painterly history and rarely drawing exact lines between abstraction and representation.  On a related note, I just got back from New York, my main purpose was seeing the Matisse show at MoMA, it blew my mind.

For Samuel Mockbee Acrylic, gouache, and tape on paper 24" x 18"

For Samuel Mockbee
Acrylic, gouache, and tape on paper
24" x 18"


Thanks Jodi!  Be sure to check out her work in detail in our current exhibition Just Plane Rotten (today is the last day!) and on her website here.