Aled Haywood

15th Mar 2018

Hi Aled, we hope you’re enjoying the coffee!

So nice to hear from you, I am enjoying the coffee very much, thank you for sending it.
Let’s get “DOWN TO IT”

1. Can you give us an introduction to your practice?


8. You designed the CONCH logo for us in 2015. There are often elements of design running through your work (San Pelligrino, Soderberg) – can you tell us a bit more about that?

I love to draw, I love to dance & sing!*

*I’m still trying to work out what my practice is. In fact I haven’t thought about it for a long time, which is quite nice. I think it’s because at art school you have (and have to have) a very clear idea of what and why you’re doing what you are doing as you are thinking about it constantly – and I think I needed to not do that for a while, although this year it will be three years since we graduated, so maybe high time I got things fired up again.

Things I am interested in: cultural capital and how things like consumer choices and brands etc are used to display this, maybe it’s just a way to use logos though, which I like a lot. I’m always wary of fads but also quite drawn to them, like for a while I was making what one would call ‘post-internet art’ but I suppose we all are now eh!

Also I like to draw, and also paint, but sometimes think that’s not ‘enough’ although it probably is, but what if it’s not? I feel like a lot of what I do is ‘playing dumb’ which comes from things like Devo – a band and belief that the world is getting stupider – and also a kind of semiotic analysis where you imagine interpreting something without any prior knowledge or cultural constructs. It’s a good way to show how complex and loaded stupid stuff like fizzy drinks + branded water is. Hey it’s probably something to do with capitalism!

I obviously like cartoons as well and this partly influences my interest in logos (as often they are just little cartoons). I’ve recently been doing some web design and found out how to make my own cursors. It’s really fun and I’m going mad for it. Maybe I’ll do an artwork where you can download my cursors. (also I didn’t mention I usually end up drawing faces)

3. Your practice alternates between painting, performance and music. From the outside peering in, it appears to be a seamless interaction but does any one medium hold more weight for you?


4. You make music under the name Commie Cars. Tell us more!


Yes I do! Oh I enjoy it! I have fun!

It started off as an acoustic ‘bedroom project’ but now I sometimes play with a full band. I’m enjoying the flexibility of it. The live band isn’t fixed either but at the moment it’s that classic ‘guitar, bass, drums’ line-up that I think is a good way to get across an energetic performance. I write and record all the parts myself, but like the idea that the songs are subject to change + will adapt to whoever is playing them. I like that it has its own name too, I wouldn’t want it to be ‘Aled Haywood’ or anything like that. It means I can separate myself a little bit from it, and to some degree have a ‘commie cars’ persona or character. The songs are often tied up in what I think about in my artwork – there’s a song called the same thing as my degree show ‘Man, I feel like a wrangler’, and I like playing with what certain sounds can signify culturally or historically…

5. If all your work was embedded in an art maze, and at the centre of that maze (the end goal!) you could place a piece or project of your choice, which would it be?

I would probably do this idea that I never realised: A small set of stairs that lead up to a tiny velvet curtain high on the wall. I could never think of anything ‘important’ enough to put behind the curtain so maybe nothing at all?! That would be really annoying after negotiating the maze ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

6. You’re part of the recently established collective GEL, can you tell us a bit about this collaborative effort? What have you done so far and where is it going?

We set up ‘GEL’ as a way to initiate collaborative activity between a group of friends living between Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. We hesitate to call it a collective but that’s pretty much exactly what it is! We had a show at New Glasgow Society last October (?) which was really fun and also underlined our success as a productive, collaborative group. So we’re trying to apply for residencies and stuff and are going to do some stuff at Basic Mountain in Edinburgh this year. There’s something about banding together which feels like a good tactic for being productive in times of ‘austerity’, like it somehow feels more relevant or interesting than riding solo. But we’ll see how it goes!

7. Projects like GEL seem to signify a throwback to college days and group studio spaces. Do you have a studio in Glasgow? Is having a studio an integral part of working for you?

No I don’t! I can’t really afford one at the mo, and think it’s nice that work can adapt to fit life, though it does mean I’m limited to small scale stuff.

10. If funding and resources were no object, is there a work or project that you would like to realise?

I got Instagram last year and enjoy watching how concerned the art world is with it. There’s a lot of flaunting one’s opportunities and I think it is easy to fake that kind of thing so I’ve started making my own fake shows. ‘Aled Haywood: Neons’ at White Cube was a success so I would love to be able to actualise these fake crappy neons. Are you offering? Give me thousands of pounds!


Aled Haywood is an artist and musician dwelling in Glasgow. You can find him on Instagram at @aledhaywood and He makes up one ninth of GEL - find them on Instagram @g_e_l____ and on their website