Haydn Cornner was born in 1961 in a room above his Grandmother’s haberdashery shop (though this maybe a flight of fancy !) As the son of a sailor he led a peripatetic childhood. From an early age Haydn loved being in his own private world and he had an imaginary friend called Christopher Beaker, they both left school when Haydn was sixteen.
In his twenties Haydn played Buster Keaton at the Edinburgh Festival and joined a travelling comedy show that toured Europe. Haydn performed, painted backdrops and made props. ‘We used to do the levitation trick with false legs and a sheet, we had explosions, strings of sausages and a ten foot policeman called Arthur Sleep’.
In the early 1980’s Haydn began to concentrate on painting and also began a successful career as an illustrator. Clients include the BBC, Penguin Books, the Independent and The New Yorker. Haydn gets his ideas from daydreaming, reading, books and travelling. A recent trip to the tea plantations in Darjeeling has been particularly inspirational. Haydn paints in oils, carefully building up layers of smooth, graduated opaque colour using sharp contrasts and fine detail. His work possesses a surreal dreamlike quality. He says ‘I like things to be bright, lively, interesting, neat, preposterous, fine feathered, humorous and slightly long – winded. I want the people in my paintings to look like they are on a journey.’
Haydn Cornner has exhibited with Portal Painters since 1992. Haydn has had five solo shows with Portal and he exhibits with them at all the major Art Fairs. In 2004 Haydn exhibited with Portal at the Edinburgh Festival. Cornner has illustrated two children’s books ‘ My China Journey’ and ‘ King Ivan’s Dream’.
More recently Haydn has taken an English degree, and has been teaching, at the same time Cornner is painting and also producing giclee prints of his work.