About

Bio

April Marie Mai is known for their vibrant abstract impasto paintings, social commentary fiber work, and explorations of color and pattern in printmaking, drawing, and ink. They create playful abstractions of the beauty of everyday life, write devastatingly honest poetry, educate people on autism and disability, elevate the voices of survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and make work that supports the LGBTQ+ community.

April is a genderfae person (genderfluid non-binary woman) who lives and creates art in Overland Park, Kansas. April is autistic, dyslexic, disabled and omnisexual. They have aphantasia and many other neurodivergencies which affect their artistic practice. Chronic migraine and fibromyalgia affect their everyday life and limit their abilities. Art, humor, activism and love are what keep them going.

Their work has been shown at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

When not making art, April likes to visit gardens, tend to their plants, hug Squishmallows, stim, have friends over for tea, and host potlucks at their home in Overland Park, Kansas, USA.

(They/Them)

About

Artist's Statement

My work utilizes bright colors, simple patterns, and textures to explore the collective human unconscious abstractly. I then use the results of my purely abstract pieces to create other works that address difficult and taboo topics. Painting and fiber are used in much of my work, along with a variety of other media. The hand is always visible; it provides grounding, and breathes life.

Variation and accidents enthrall me, and I eschew rigid technological uniformity in all aspects of my work, at the same time that I use technology to create various components of my work. My patterns are created by hand and digitized with minimal alteration. I’m fascinated by the ways that technology can be used to build art, while still fully maintaining the presence of the human hand in the result. My purely abstract works are playful and colorful, and are an instinctual exploration of the reactions humans have to color and pattern. I break things down into the simplest pieces and play with the different ways they can be recombined, seeking to understand my own basic responses to visual stimuli, and thus something of humanity as a whole.

My personal narrative shapes the second branch of my work, which addresses my experiences with sexual assault and harassment, as well as my identity as a queer person. Using imagery I developed in my purely abstract works, I focus on creating pieces that are readable and relatively palatable, as well as deeply honest and personal. They are vulnerable to the point of being raw, both out of a need to process my experiences, and in the hopes that others will understand and feel less alone in theirs. In addition to works that share my story, I also share the stories of others who have dealt with sexual assault and harassment. I seek to remove their cost for speaking up by sharing what they have submitted online anonymously. My work functions as a means to help them feel seen and heard, to have people understand how vast the problem actually is, and to call for societal change. It grows and changes with the addition of each new panel. I use fiber in these pieces, both because of its versatility and because it has historically been seen as ‘women’s work.’ Reclaiming it to tell our stories is empowering.

CV

Education

Kansas City Art Institute – BFA in Painting – 2005

Exhibitions

2022 – InterUrban ArtHouse “Exhibition: the Queer Experience” Overland Park, KS. USA

2022 – The Whole Person “Expressions: Featuring Artists with Disabilities” Traveling Exhibition. USA

Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company, Kansas City, MO.

2021 – The Whole Person “Expressions: Featuring Artists with Disabilities” Traveling Exhibition. USA
Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company, Kansas City, MO.
The Thornhill Gallery at Avila University, Kansas City, MO.
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library South Branch, Kansas City, KS.
Kansas City, Kansas Community College, Kansas City, KS.
The Whole Person, Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Artists’ Coalition, Kansas City, MO

2020 – Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center “Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists Respond to Covid-19” Overland Park, KS. USA

2020 – InterUrban ArtHouse “Exhibition: the Queer Experience” Overland Park, KS. USA

2020 – InterUrban ArtHouse “Her Art: Who Does She Think She Is?” Overland Park, KS. USA

2020 – The Whole Person “Expressions: Featuring Artists with Disabilities” Traveling Exhibition. USA
Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company, Kansas City, MO.
The Thornhill Gallery at Avila University, Kansas City, MO.
The Smalter Gallery, Kansas City, MO.
InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS.

2019 – InterUrban ArtHouse “Exhibition: Illuminating the Queer Experience” Overland Park, KS. USA

2017 – Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City “Outside Inside: Exploring Boundaries and Otherness” Overland Park, KS. USA

2017 – Union Station “Inspire: KC Corporate Arts Challenge” Kansas City, MO. USA

2005 – H&R Block Artspace “Annual B.F.A. Exhibition” Kansas City, MO. USA

2002 – F.L. Schlage Library “Interplay Between Human and Devine” (Solo) Kansas City, KS. USA

2002 – Destination Gallery “Students of Paul Sebben and Juan Ormaza” – Kansas City, MO. USA

1996 – Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art “Portrait of Self” Kansas City, MO. USA

Awards

2022 Artist Inc. Live Seminar Fellow. Kansas City, MO. USA

2022 “Expressions” Featured Artist. The Whole Person. Kansas City, MO. USA

2021 “Expressions” Featured Artist. The Whole Person. Kansas City, MO. USA

2020 “Expressions” Featured Artist. The Whole Person. Kansas City, MO. USA

2016-2017 Midwest Jewish Artists Lab Fellow. Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Overland Park, KS. USA

Teaching Experience

2020 – Colorful Paper Collage Workshop. Overland Park, KS. USA

2020 – Abstract Heart Painting Workshop. Overland Park, KS. USA

2019 – Impasto Abstract Painting Workshop. Overland Park, KS. USA

2019 – Squeegee Abstract Painting Workshop. Overland Park, KS. USA

2017 – Acrylic Abstract Painting Workshop “Know the Soul of the Stranger” at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Overland Park, KS. USA