Catching Up With:
Kemi Mai

Catching Up With:<br>Kemi Mai


What inspires the work you create?

This question is one I only stop to consider when someone like yourself asks me, as it is never one I happen upon organically. I would probably never consider the source of my inspiration if it wasn't for other people's curiosity. As for me, inspiration is drawn from everything. Conversations about alienation, books I've read, the colour blue, something I once heard Ira Glass say, the familiar feeling of my favourite Radiohead album -- everything and anything.


Tell us more about your process. The work you create is incredibly realistic; how do you get that result and what computer programs do you use?

It sounds a little obvious, but attention to detail is key. You have to see your subjects as the sum of their parts, break it down and see the pores resting beneath the crease of an eye, the glint reflected in their pupil from the light across the room that never even made it into the painting, the golden flecks in their irises that float like little islands in a sea of blue. My technical approach is all about the details, married with my creative approach to paint more than could ever really be there in real life. I make my paintings with Adobe Photoshop CC and a Wacom Intuos 5.


What is the coolest collaboration you've worked on thus far?

That's a really tough one. Working with a lot of amazing contemporary galleries such as Spoke Art and Sugarlift has been amazing. It's really satisfying to see your work on the same walls as the artists you respect and admire.


What role does social media play in getting your work out there?

A really huge one. Being able to connect directly with the same people my clients want to connect with helps organically form a lot of connections, it also offers me a platform to share my work with anyone who wants to see it.


As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A marine biologist, an astronaut (of course), and a casting director; but never a painter.


Finally, any advice for artists looking to get in to the digital medium, or art in general?

Be patient, not mildly so either. Be stubbornly patient. You'll be taking a shortcut if you skip the part where you expect digital mediums to be easier than their traditional counterparts. Try not to be too hard on yourself, sometimes it really is enough to create for creations sake. Let yourself be proud of the things you make, even if you can see the errors, that just means you can see exactly what you need to do to grow and improve.


Check out some in-progress details of Kemi's work from our most recent exhibition, all for sale in our Sugarlift After Dark collection!