Ivey Hayes is recognized as one of North Carolina’s most beloved and prolific contemporary artists. Ivey Hayes prints are treasured by collectors of contemporary art. His later work is admired for its vibrant colors and bold shapes.
His early career was marked by his watercolor paintings, which depicted scenes of life in North Carolina. Hayes suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, which made it difficult for him to continue the demanding work and precision of his watercolor painting; his art necessarily evolved into the sweeping graphic acrylic works that defined his later career.
Hayes’ subjects reflected his roots: cotton pickers, fishermen, musicians, church ladies, quilters, homemakers. He was a familiar figure at local art festivals and farmers markets.
Ivey Hayes was presented with the “Living Legend” award by Wilmington’s Black Arts Alliance in 2006. His art was featured on posters for a wide variety of area events, including the North Carolina Azalea Festival and the North Carolina Blueberry Festival. Hayes produced original pieces for a number of local charitable events. Both his early watercolors and his late-career acrylics are highly praised, and Ivey Hayes prints are treasured by collectors of contemporary art, African-American artists, and thematic works, like jazz musicians, fishing scenes, and coastal scenery. His work was exhibited in Washington D.C.’s Cannon House Office building, and galleries in Boston, New York, and around the country.
After a stint on the cable shopping channel QVC, which featured prints of his watercolors, Hayes dedicated himself to painting with renewed vigor. In 2006, his work was featured in the 2006 exhibit “Five American Artists,” at Wilmington’s Cameron Art Museum.
Hayes was born in 1948 on a farm in Pender County. He graduated from North Carolina Central University in 1970, and earned his MFA from UNC-Greensboro in 1975.
Hayes died in 2012 at the age of 64.