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Meet Mays Mayhew

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mays Mayhew.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up, art was the only thing I was noticeably talented as compared to my other siblings. At a young age, art is where I found my self-worth. Later, I was classically trained: BFA in studio arts, studied renaissance art in Italy, and figure drawing at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Over the next 20 years, I exhibited regularly with over 50 art shows and created over 200 works of art.
However, I worked as an artist while having a day-job: Art Store Manager, Art and craft product developer and (currently) homeschooling-stay-at-home-mom. I worked substantial hours at both.

I found the time for art. For example, after a full day at the office I would paint for 3 – 4 hours before going to bed. If I had to travel, I would sketch on the plane. Once I got to my destination, I would schedule a trip to a local art venue after meetings. I painted some of my best paintings while working 50 hours as a Product Manager in a corporate environment. On the weekends I would visit galleries and museums to get inspired and informed. It takes time, hard-work and tenacity to have two full time jobs but it CAN be done. There is more than one road to success.

Presently, I am able to work on my art full time. I have a beautiful white-walled art space I call my sanctuary. I put a mini-gym in it to keep the kids maintenance-free. I am active in the art community and bring my 2 and 4-year-old with me everywhere. Art and life are fully intertwined.

I exhibit regularly. Last month I had two shows. I won Best in Show and the People’s Choice Award at Starline Gallery.

Currently, I have a solo show up that runs through Sept. 18, 2018.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In art school it was my goal to be able to live off of my art and be an artist full time. I believed getting an MFA (Masters of Fine Art) and art professorship was the only road there. I applied for 2 years to top art schools and got rejected by all of them. Twice. It was quite a disappointment because I didn’t have a plan B.

I drank the Kool-Aid poured out by so many art professors. They insinuated that if you lived and breathed art, success and fame would happen. It doesn’t. You need more than that.

As mentioned, I overcame that obstacle and painted anyways.

Today, my biggest challenge is health related. I have carpal tunnel and arthritis in my drawing arm. I push through the pain but I wake up numb almost every morning. I’ve been told there is no solve for this situation. Thus, I am happy my hands DO work.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mays Mayhew – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I create contemporary figurative drawings and paintings. My current mediums are works on paper. I’m known for rendering people realistically while facilitating provocative thought.

I take pride in being professional with clients and gallerists. I am industrious when exhibiting from planning, installing and promoting. I am diligent with clients. I really want to make it easy for others to work with me. I take the business of art very seriously.

My current solo show, Doppelganger, is an examination of the different forms a doppelganger takes, double-mindedness, narcissism, spiritualism, introspection, and fearfulness. Doppelgangers don’t have to look sinister to be so. Sometimes the image portrays a doppelganger as the same person, others a twin. I’m attracted to the visual rhythm of unobtrusive dialogue the repeated figure creates.

Using pencil on paper, my approach is as simple as my tools. I use the grayscale of graphite to keep the image open-ended for the viewer to mirror, creating a new tangible doppelganger. Ultimately, my art is to create provocative images about the human condition, beautifully.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Now through Sept. 18th I have a solo show on exhibit at SXU gallery in St. Xavier University. There are over 30 pieces displayed along with a 5-minute time lapsed video. The video shows my studio practice and the creation of 5 art works. The artist talk is on Sept. 12, 2018.

In 2019, I will be published in Studio Visit magazine. I have two shows lined up with a solo show planned for Starline Gallery, (Harvard, IL).

I am looking forward to a fruitful and busy 2018-19 with art as my forever-and-always-cornerstone. If you are interested, please check out my Facebook Artist page, Mays Mayhew, Artist. Also, check out for artwork, blog and events.


Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mays Mayhew

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Patricia Mayhew Hamm

    September 24, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Mays Mayhew is an outstanding artist. I have watched her develop her unique style over the years and she has excelled. Patricia Mayhew Hamm

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