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Meet the Fellows

In the studio with Rachel Hayes

Tulsa Artist Fellow Rachel Hayes

Destiny Jade Green

Meet the Fellows takes you inside the studios of the 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship recipients for a look at their life and work. Since 2015, Tulsa Artist Fellowship has recruited artists and arts workers to Tulsa, where they “have the freedom to pursue their craft while contributing to a thriving arts community.” For more information, visit tulsaartistfellowship.org.

The Tulsa Voice: Can you tell us a little about your background and work?

Rachel Hayes: I grew up near Kansas City and come from a family of artists and musicians, so I always had support from a young age to pursue the arts. I studied textiles, painting and sculpture in college … My work is a product of loving every medium I ever learned to work with. When my work is blurring the boundaries of craft, art, design, fashion and architecture, and a piece is hard to categorize, I feel confident, and liberated.

TTV: Can you talk about your history at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship and its impact on your work?

Hayes: The fellowship has provided a home base for my art, and having the studio and financial support has been invaluable. Being based in Tulsa and having the visibility through the program has already provided some great opportunities for my work, such as creating an installation last year in the Philbrook Museum’s rotunda. 

I have officially moved here, my kids are in school, and I own my home. My husband Eric Sall (also a fellow) and I … are going on our fourth year in Tulsa, and this is the longest we’ve ever lived in one city concurrently since graduating from undergrad. Giving this kind of commitment to a community, city and state, lends a feeling of relief I didn’t anticipate, and I’m looking forward to digging in and seeing what can happen here.

TTV: You recently installed a piece for Facebook. Can you talk about that?

Hayes: The piece at Facebook is titled “Not Face Away,” and was commissioned by the Taubman Museum in 2015. When the show was finished at the museum, Facebook acquired the installation, and I temporarily installed part of the piece at Facebook in 2016. I’ve been working closely with the engineers for the last two years, planning for this installation in a brand-new building on their campus at Menlo Park.

TTV: How about your work with the Italian fashion house Missoni?

Hayes: We established the relationship through social media, and collaborated on four projects together around the world. I made 99 percent of the work myself right here in Tulsa—it was fast, furious, and a totally exhilarating experience. … I was able to focus solely on my work for the first time in years, and have the space to make it in thanks to the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

TTV: Any shows or projects on the horizon you’re excited to share?

Hayes: In May I’m installing some of the smaller textile pieces I made for Missoni at the downtown Tulsa Library, and debuting a video I shot during the Missoni ad campaign on their large outdoor screen. The library has a makerspace I’ll be working in on May 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. I’m also working on an ambitious outdoor installation with the Tulsa Botanical Garden, so stay tuned for that.

TTV: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

Hayes: Sure thing! Come say hi during the next First Friday. I’ll be in my fellowship studio right down the alley from Duet Jazz bar.