“The writer is by nature a dreamer — a conscious dreamer,” American novelist Carson McCullers once said. Writer and poet Andrew Hays is a bit of a dreamer himself, drawing inspiration from legend and myth in order to pave the way for themes of escapism that often appear in his work.
“I like to wrap my work in mythological and religious imagery and technique,” he explained for our Daydream Artist Series, “because it’s a way to take the heart of something and repackage it in a way that’s a little more neatly and purposefully put together.”
We took a few moments to chat about daydreams, authenticity, and finding connections with others — despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders — with the Denver-based creator. Read on to learn more about Andrew’s process and his work.
Q: Tell us a little about you and what you do.
Andrew: I work in travel technology, and I like to make things. As a recent transplant to Denver, I love to explore this beautiful state and all its mountains, breweries, and lovely people. Most of my free time is spent writing, making music, or baking, and conversely, reading, listening to music, and eating.
Q: Tell us about your process and inspiration behind your artwork. What is your daydream and how can people feel inspired to daydream during these tough times?
Andrew: I’m inspired by legend and myth, and those have always been the gateways to escapism for me. I like to wrap my work in mythological and religious imagery and technique because it’s a way to take the heart of something and repackage it in a way that’s a little more neatly and purposefully put together. It injects meaning, and it gives a sense of control over what otherwise can often feel meaningless and beyond control. I can’t really speak for other people, but there’s always, always the potential to create purpose and design your own motives. Metaphor is a powerful tool.
Q: What do you hope people will take away from this piece?
Andrew: We’re all experiencing these physical, mental, emotional, and financial struggles together. It’d be a little naïve and Hallmark-y for me to just tell people that the message of this work is that they can daydream from anywhere, even quarantine (and I’m not one to give advice much, anyway).
I’ve tried to be authentic in this piece with my lifelong experiences of finding escape in mundane places, while still recognizing the occasional sense of hopelessness that can come from being in this specific situation. I’ll just say that I hope people recognize that we can still find connection with others, even when our physical distances feel bigger than they’ve ever felt. #hallmark.
Oferfaran: A Poem by Andrew Hays
I came of age on the Texas prairies
In desk chairs near opened windows,
Desperate to be swept
To the depths of a broad horizon.
All that empty space, waiting to be filled.
I came of age with the speaking dead
In threads braided by silenced voices.
Fingers turning pages,
Breezes turning pages,
Leaves swarming edges of hedge-lined passageways.
I came of age confined,
My limits defined by cages
Of written words on lamplit pages,
Half-creating narrow shades,
Reconstructing broken thoughts
Of spirits interred in age-long barrows.
I followed them through windows,
Over leaf turns,
On journeys past expanses,
To stay still and seek,
To anchor the bones of their experience
Among the gaps of what I can’t know.
All that empty space, impossible to be filled.
Learn more about Andrew by visiting his website, sagasandsketches.com.