My Life, My Words: Joe Hays: Reinventing myself through art | CraigDailyPress.com
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My Life, My Words: Joe Hays: Reinventing myself through art

Joe Hays, 23, stands in his room Sunday at his family’s home on Apple Street. Hays makes his living working at Carelli’s Pizzeria & Pasta, but he has aspirations for a career in the arts.
Shawn McHugh





Joe Hays, 23, stands in his room Sunday at his family’s home on Apple Street. Hays makes his living working at Carelli’s Pizzeria & Pasta, but he has aspirations for a career in the arts.
Shawn McHugh

“I moved down here about close to a year ago from L.A. I came down here to spend some time with my mom, because it had been a while since I’d seen her. Once I graduated high school from here, I took off and I’ve been gone since 2005. I came down here to see her and spend some time with her and get myself out of debt.

I started looking for a job and found one at Carelli’s. I really love it there. It’s a cool place, good people. So I’ve been saving money, hanging out, revisiting all my friends, just working on some personal things.

I’ve been working on my music a lot, been working on my art a lot. I’ve been reading a lot. Kind of refocusing myself, reinventing myself while I’m here and have the time to.



I’ve been playing a lot of acoustic guitar. I also have a bass, but I’ve mostly been playing acoustic, just trying to figure out lyrics and write some chords and trying to just write some music for myself, really. It’s not really to put down on paper or to record or anything. It’s just so I can play a song to myself every night.

When I first made the decision to move to California, it was partially because I wanted to get out of Denver and also because I was engaged. And the girl I was engaged to moved out there to go to fashion school. So we were away from each other for about three months until I made the decision to move down there to be with her. And since I was going out there, I decided to transfer schools, too. I went from the Art Institute of Denver to the Art Institute of L.A.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



I want to have a degree in the art field. I really want art, all art, to be part of my career. Graphic design, painting, whatever. I’ve been working on a painting and trying to decide what I want to do. It’s a process.

In L.A., I really started getting into clothing design. I also started getting into political propaganda, like advertising posters, more towards the stop of war and the stop of hate, things like that. The more I studied graphic design, the more I realized I was feeding into a system of telling people how to think and what to do. I’m trying to turn it now and do the opposite of that, but still be in the field of graphic design.

I don’t want to use graphic design to promote politicians, but ideas. I guess it goes two ways, but I want to get more into activism and really use it to point out certain things. One of my school projects was a political activism piece. I went down to the fabric district in L.A., and I found this really sick fabric and we laid it out and it was huge. In big red block letters, I painted ‘Love’ on it, and then we hung it over one of the main highways in L.A. and hung it off the bridge.

I’ve been thinking about doing something like that in Craig. I’ve been thinking about it, and I make the plans and don’t really follow through with that. Eventually, I want to try to get some stuff up.

Craig’s definitely gotten a lot bigger since I left. I came back and there’s more of an art community. I’ve met a ton of artists, and they’re really good. It’s just like anywhere — they’re kind of hidden.

As far as my job now being artistic, I’d say that art comes in all different forms. Making a pizza look perfect every time and the art of making food and cooking and making people happy with it and getting good results from it is, I think, an art in itself. Just a different style of art.”


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