Interview with Kevin Haynes and the Oldham Open

We’ve been very busy this week installing the Oldham Open which is due to open on Friday 20 September. Over 300 works were submitted and approximately 260 pieces will be included in the exhibition.

I caught up with local artist Kevin Haynes, who has two new paintings in the exhibition this year. His picture I’m not Catching the Bus shown in the Oldham Open 2015 was purchased by Gallery Oldham with help from the Art Fund. Here, I spoke to Kevin about his artwork, motivations and the Oldham Open.


Karen Heatley, Gallery Oldham: Hello Kevin. You’re well known around Oldham and the North West as an artist. Gallery Oldham was delighted to be able to add your painting to the art collection after ‘The Oldham Open’ in 2015. How long have you been painting? How did you get started, and what motivates you on a day-to-day basis?

Kevin Haynes: After an illness in 2006 I semi-retired from my engineering business and took up painting. I had no formal training but quickly developed a style focusing on painting my childhood memories of the local area in which I grew up – Waterhead, Oldham. I was strongly influenced by Oldham-born artist John Thompson and L. S. Lowry.

KH: Can you tell me a bit more about this painting, I’m not Catching the Bus?

Kevin: In this painting I have captured the working people of Waterhead. I remember the busy streets lined with terrace houses, filled with buses and working people and dominated by the chimneys of the cotton mills. My style is naïve because of the simplicity of line and stylised figures within my work. I prefer to work in acrylic because of the bright colours I can capture.

KH: What motivated you to submit to the Oldham Open and had you submitted work before?

Kevin: I first submitted to the Oldham Open in 2013 having shown my work in a solo exhibition in Gallery Oldham’s Community Gallery in 2011. The Oldham Open is a great opportunity for local artists to show their work and have an opportunity to sell their pieces. This year I have encouraged my granddaughter to submit some of her work.

KH: Do you have a favourite place to paint? And is there anything you would love to paint that you haven’t yet managed?

Kevin: I work in my studio at home and build up ideas by looking at old photographs and capturing my memories of the past. My real interest is in painting urban landscapes and the people in them. I remember the colourful headscarves of the working women of Waterhead and their mannerisms. I build up my compositions organically, often creating initial sketches of sections then adapting the painting as it develops.

I was commissioned to do some work for Mahdlo Youth Centre creating a piece of artwork of now and then. I would like to revisit this as I am fascinated in capturing how the years have changed areas over time.

KH: You’re a member of MAFA. Can you tell us a little bit about what that entails?

Kevin: I have been a member of Manchester Academy of Fine Art for several years and I am also on the exhibition committee. This entails approaching venues to show MAFA work and co-ordinating these exhibitions.

KH: Where will you be showing work during 2019?

Kevin: I will be showing my work with MAFA in an exhibition at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery over September and at The Whittaker, Rawtenstall, over Christmas. My work is also sold in private galleries around the North-West.

KH: Thank you Kevin, it’s been good to talk to you and hear more about your work. I’m looking forward to seeing your work exhibited in various places later this year.