ART AND SOUL Josh Hailey ’99 • Young Alumni Award
n adjunct art lesson at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School forever changed Josh Hailey’s life. “St. Andrew’s had a photographer come in to teach a workshop,” Hailey recalls. “What I learned that day made me want to become a photographer and artist.” Hailey originally enrolled in architectural school at Mississippi State University, but ultimately decided to pursue a fine arts degree instead. Today, Hailey is living his dream as a multimedia artist, photographer, and mentor to the young people he inspires to create art of their own. Hailey operates the Josh Hailey Studio in the Fondren arts district of Jackson, Mississippi, and is also the founder and director of heARTalot, an organization he created to promote art education and foster community creativity. Hailey recently returned to Mississippi following almost two years spent traveling the United States as part of a self-assigned photography project titled “PHOTAMERICA.” Hailey spent 80 weeks in a van traveling to all 50 states, photographing the people, places, and events he saw and interviewing Americans from all walks of life. Rather than following a strict itinerary or shot list, Hailey let each person or place tell him its story, with memorable results. “I went into a coffee shop in Arizona, and while I was there, a woman came in and asked the guy behind the counter if he knew a photographer,” Hailey recalls. “Her
father was dying, and she was looking for someone to shoot what would probably be his last motorcycle ride with his friends. I wound up shooting him from the back of a motorcycle in front of him. I was able to have experiences like that because I just never said ‘no’ to anything.” The project’s thought-provoking images and interviews are seen in Hailey’s book, PHOTAMERICA, and in a traveling art installation that Hailey makes available to schools, film festivals, and community venues. The PHOTAMERICA installation will be a featured attraction at St. Andrew’s upcoming spring festival, Arts on the Green. Hailey continues to create new multimedia pieces, offers free public art classes through heARTalot, and meets for “Art Church” every Sunday afternoon with other artists, teachers, and visionaries interested in building a sense of community through the arts. It’s a dynamic career that brings Hailey plenty of fulfillment, but little job security, but it’s a trade-off he’s more than willing to make. In addressing current St. Andrew’s students, Hailey encouraged them to put aside their fears and pursue the art that speaks to them. “Don’t be afraid, just go out there and do it. That’s a lesson St. Andrew’s instills in its students,” Hailey said. “The world would be a sad place without art. Art is important for wellbeing and truth outside of the box. As an artist, I might never have a nine-to-five job, but it’s living, and I couldn’t do it any other way.”
“MY PHILOSOPHY has always been that the process of creating is just as important as the finished piece. For me, art is about uninhibited exploration of a medium, manipulating everything sometimes, changing nothing at others. It is about finding beauty in all things, and discovering that sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to find it.” — Josh Hailey
YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD The Young Alumni Award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has made a major contribution to the community, arts, sciences, or business. Alumni must have graduated from St. Andrew’s within the past 15 years to be eligible for nomination. One alumnus or alumna is recognized each year. 67
Published on May 22, 2014
Published on May 22, 2014
Archways is the flagship publication from St. Andrew's Episcopal School, an independent, coeducational, preparatory day school serving stude...