We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Haigh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen, what is the most important factor behind your success?
One factor that seems really evident and above all others in my personal success, is belief! It’s the driving force that births possibility, precedes success and is the enemy of failure. Belief is life and one of the few things I can control! When the phone isn’t ringing and the work isn’t moving, the seemingly natural response is to pack it up and give in. The feeling is so easy! A belief in myself, my voice, my work, in the possibility, is what pulls me through. Without a continued belief in my pursuits, none of it would materialize or become possible.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is directly and indirectly shaped and influenced by my studies in design, as well as illustration. But perhaps even more apparent is my experience of growing up and living in a large city (Philadelphia). The living environment, the surface wear and culture of city living are undeniable, and easily found in my work. My art exists in many forms from a large body of abstract works to more sculptural pieces, figurative paintings and commercial work and design. My experience working a day job in masonry construction and my interest in graffiti culture growing up also continue to reflect heavily in much of my work. I believe a persons art should change over time and reflect their experience of living. For me as an artist, it hasn’t been very easy finding my way. This may be a positive consideration as it adds depth to my experience and ultimately my work. Growing up my parents weren’t artistic and weren’t knowledgeable raising a creative child. There were also few creative outlets for for an inner city kid growing up in the 80’s. In high school I struggled to maintain a balance with my art pursuits and my interest in athletics. Searching for this balance continued after high school and through my early years in college, as I competed regularly in Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. Aside from my studies, training for competitions absorbed both my energy and time. During these early years in school my art suffered greatly because of the imbalance. I started to view my art as a priority in my life and necessary to who I am. I gave up competing in Martial Arts almost entirely and my work gained traction. I was pleased with the shift in balance as well as the direction my art was going. Today I have a young family, with two kids 1 and 7 years old, so while the dynamics of my life are quite different than years past, the search for balance remains. Last year I was diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer and had to undergo extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. This brought new changes to daily life and creating my art. Despite any drawbacks its imperative I listen and continue believing in my inner voice.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My years in Martial Arts competition and working as a coach provided me the opportunity to travel extensively, both nationally and internationally. When traveling I prefer to explore an area, usually with no real plan! I enjoy walking beaches, in nature and rural settings but also rubbing noses with local art, culture and history of an area. Its a visceral exploration! I wish to feel and experience what a place or region is. Beauty in simple things. I’m often found rummaging through flea or open air markets looking for antiques and art objects. I like to experience different foods and different approaches. I also love to hang in and cook for friends around a . Galleries and museums are always on my itinerary to visit. Someone who is more adventurous might be into urban exploration of abandon places and architecture. Sometimes visits to these forgotten spots can be really inspiring. I shoot a lot of pictures and have documented many sites in and around Philly. An individuals particular interest would maybe dictate where I take them. I fairly open to explore. I can’t sit for long and if the weather permits, I’m usually out seeking something new and engaging.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife Michelle gets this! Her tireless love, support and admiration is a constant in my life!
Instagram: @stephenhaighart, @s_a_m_e_o_n_e, @stephen._.haigh