Collaging with paper and found materials, painting in oils on canvas or board, and drawing in pencil and ink, KJ May creates compact and representational art reflective of her training as an illustrator. On hiatus from self-promotion for more than a decade, KJ May continued to produce work and, in 2019, began focusing on showing work again. In spite of setbacks due to the pandemic, she persists.
Working primarily in collage and oil paints, I express emotions through images of the human body and how it interacts with its environment. The images are tightly cropped to focus on the central action: the expressions, colors, and interlocking shapes that work together to express the sadness, joy, stress or serenity of the central person or people. In paintings, the underlying drawing provides the structure to the piece. In collage, there is no underlying structure. All of the source image fragments are found and not created, which limits the palette. I use these fragments like puzzle pieces, assembling with no guide and no obvious solution. This leads to greater expression and looseness in the collages. Color is a critical element in both genres, steering the eye around the piece and emphasizing the mood.
My training in illustration gives my work the structure and focus of a craftsperson. Exposure to a variety of disparate artists and genres has inspired me to add additional depth and nuance to my work.
Illustration Show, Art League Gallery, Alexandria, VA
Curator: Will Varner
Art Full Text, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
Curator: Calvin Jones
Annual Birdsboro Art Show, Birdsboro, PA
Poets and Painters, Berks Arts Council, Reading, PA
Annual Wyomissing Art Show, Wyomissing, PA
XConnect: writers of the information age, issue 21
Women’s Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 11, pp 23
Tree illustrations created for a craft in Martha Stewart Weddings
2003 - 2018
Creative Director, Plan B Press, Alexandria, VA
The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Illustration