Adrian Hayles


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One barely notices the friendly game of table tennis, even when the ping-pong ball goes AWOL. The game is overshadowed by the dynamic and expressive Serena Williams in a series of moments that could only be captured with Toronto Artist Adrian Hayles.

It was last October, during an outing in Kensington that Wllnttz was enthusiastically invited by a stranger to view his backyard mural. We were skeptical until we turned the corner and were greeted by a rockin’ Jimi Hendrix.  “My friend Adrian Hayles painted this”, he declared. We knew then that we had stumbled upon talent.

Only a week later, while contemplating one of the entries for the Villain themed Plywood Collective at Spin, a friendly voice joined the conversation. It was Adrian.

Wllnttz met up with Adrian again this April, at Spin’s Plywood Collective Show “Winners – Champions of Sport”, to learn a little more about his artistic beat.

“That passion and energy still resides in me”, Adrian explains as he reflects on when it all started.  For him, it became clear that he would be an artist at the age of 10. It seemed evident to everyone around him too. “My parents were really encouraging… my teachers really encouraged me.”  He was sent to art camps and given special projects at school.

Adrian worked for many years as a graphic designer after earning his graphic design diploma. This eventually led to him launching his own company, Adrian Hayles Productions. Public spaces, graphic art, and teaching figurative drawing are the three main arms of Adrian Hayles Productions .

When asked about the Jimi Hendrix mural, Adrian emphasizes that though he paints in public spaces and within the community context, he does not consider himself a “street artist”. His objective is community beautification. Public and exterior spaces provide an opportunity for large-scale extensions of his expression.


Music is an integral source of inspiration, for Adrian. “Music is so interwoven to my soul.” And surprise, surprise Adrian is a DJ too, having played with many international notable turntablists. He doesn’t see a separation between music and painting. “In many ways when I paint its like painting music, visual music.” This could be seen in the rare abstracts that were part of the Balanced Expression show at Hashtag Gallery this February, through to the more obvious music icons he paints, such as Gil Scott-Heron.

Because of this intrinsic fusion between music and art and his friendship with Tyson Froese, the Rebel Hero EP cover collaboration made sense.

Turning our attention back to the lady of night, Serena, Adrian tells us, “ I wanted to paint a black woman for this series, someone with power and strength, who is inspiring. So Serena Williams.” The composition is a series of time-captured emotions that define Serena Williams in the game. In preparation for the painting, Adrian read a number of quotes where Serena discussed that while playing the game she doesn’t knows that the winning moment will come, but she always prepares for that moment. Adrian’s painting depicts her search for the win.


“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.” ~ Serena Williams.

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