Meet Blair Hayes and Boti Bliss
Director Blair Hayes will speak at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, in the BCC Fine Arts Auditorium.
Hayes and his wife, actress Boti Bliss, will be at a reception for Hayes’ photography exhibit at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Barton’s Shafer Art Gallery.
Barton Community College is ready to roll out the red carpet for award-winning director and photographer Blair Hayes and his wife, Boti Bliss, with a pair of events on Friday, Aug. 30. At 2 p.m., there will be a convocation in the Fine Arts Auditorium, in which Hayes will show film clips of his work, talk about his personal journey and what it takes to become a professional in the entertainment industry. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a reception and meet and greet in the Shafer Gallery to celebrate his exhibit “The Light of Future Past: Photography by Blair Hayes.”
Shafer Gallery Director Dave Barnes pitched the idea to Hayes to have his first photography exhibit at the gallery after the two connected via a mutual friend and Hayes said he loved the idea.
“I’m really attracted to things that are American and are about our history, our country, the people and the things that make up Americans and the American spirit,” he said. “So, I thought it was very fitting when Dave approached me to do the show in Kansas.”
Hayes said his work focuses on a minimalist style with a constant nostalgic sensibility in the background with nods to Americana always leading the way in both his photography and his films.
“I like to see the beauty in ordinary, everyday things,” he said. “I take pictures of a lot of things many people might not notice, and most would probably just walk by. People often wonder why I take pictures of these seemingly unimportant things, but hopefully, when they see my photographs, they can look at them and come to an appreciation for what it is in that object, person or scene that I was attracted to. Maybe they’ll start to think of other things that are interesting and peculiar that they might not have otherwise noticed.”
Barnes said Hayes’ style is all about storytelling.
“From the award-winning short stories that we call commercials to full-length feature films and his photographs are no exception,” he said. “Using the simplest elements of light and empty space, he creates visual spaces that are pregnant with narrative. They are like movie sets waiting for the viewer to populate them with their own characters and their own stories. The stories that you choose to tell are up to you, but the photographer’s visual choices will ensure that they are stories full of pathos. In fact, Hayes talks about all his productions as being ‘empathic filmmaking.’ So, by design, his productions are meant to make us have a strong personal response to what happens to the characters. This idea translates very organically to his photography. Even without adding deliberate characters, his photographs of barely lit hallways, misty lakesides or decrepit neon motel signboards create an emotionally saturated mood. I think he would like to be known as a photographer and filmmaker of heart.”
Hayes’ directed the cult-classic comedy, “Bubble Boy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Zack Galifianakis, and Danny Trejo; “Fearless,” which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and the Ben Affleck-and Matt Damon-produced ABC series, “Push, Nevada.” He also wrote and directed the drama, “Great Plains,” starring Tara Buck of “True Blood” and Beth Grant of “No Country for Old Men” and “Rainman.” He also was the director for all of the choreography for “Austin Powers.”
Hayes has also done highly acclaimed work in the commercial industry and has been responsible for iconic campaigns for Pepsi, Federal Express, McDonald’s, Budweiser, Chevrolet, Mercedes, American Express, Gatorade, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Maxwell House, Nintendo, Sony and Verizon. His commercials have appeared during Super Bowls and the Olympics.
Bliss is widely known for her role as Maxine Valera in “C.S.I. Miami” and has appeared in over 40 films and television series including: “Pulse,” “Power Play,” “A Teacher’s Obsession,” and “Ted Bundy.”