The Heroine’s Journey of Mays Mayhew

What is the best thing that you love about your artwork?

It’s the best thing when people see a painting I created and it echoes their situation.

For example, I’ve worked on a series called “The Brain on Love” in which I’ve created images that explain how the brain physiologically processes falling in and out of love. I created a painting called, The Love I Crave. The woman who bought it just finalized her divorce. She told me the painting spoke to her and helped her heal her emotional wounds.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  

I am living it now. My perfect happiness is creating art, operating an art business, raising two beautiful young children with a husband who supports me. I am loved by God. Happiness doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfect happiness.

What is your greatest fear?  

My fears are common to the human condition however, I know that whatever comes my way, I will be able to handle.

What is the trait that you most deplore in yourself?  

Not having better discernment about people or situations. For example, I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have and missed clues in people’s behavior that tell me how they are feeling.

Which living persons in your art profession do you most admire?

Richard Serra, large steel structures and his black and white drawings. He’s very connected to the act of drawing even though he’s known mainly for his sculptures.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Having expensive sports cars.

I grew up around cars. I was raised by a single dad and 3 older brothers who all built hot rods or any type of vehicle with an engine. We spent weekends at car shows.

On what occasion would you lie?  

That is something I try to avoid. If you ask me a question, I’ll tell you my point of view even if it hurts, since you asked. However, if faced with a situation where it would be easier to lie, I would try to redirect the conversation.

What is the thing that you dislike the most in your work?  

My work is laborious. It takes a long long long long time to make the drawn figure look like a perfectly rendered person.

When and where were you the happiest, in your work?  

I am the happiest with my work right now. I finally feel secure in my craft after 20 years of working in it. In 2012 I did a few large-scale Doppelgangers that are very good.

However, I love the narrative behind the work I am doing now the best. I feel the ‘Eve’ series was quite good, my favorites being Eve, Hide. Hide., and Hindsight.

You can see a time-lapse video of how I did the 5 here:

If you could, what would you change about yourself?  

No arthritis or pain

What is your greatest achievement in your art practice / work?  

In 2018, I had a solo show, Doppelganger. I loved seeing the new series, Eve, on exhibit with my other Doppelganger styled work. My artist talk had positive influence on the audience. I sold work. I met new collectors. Cathie Ruggie Saunders at SKU Gallery curated the show as seen in this clip.

You can see a 30 second clip of the show here:

Where would you most like to live?

I love my current home. It was a long journey here. I just wish Chicago downtown was closer and more accessible.

What is your most treasured possession?

My art studio. It’s my sanctuary. The space is split between a gallery, and a working space. My husband and I spent a lot to fix it up. IT’S PERFECT!

You can see how we turned an ugly basement into a light filled studio/gallery in this video clip:

What is your most marked characteristic?

Hard-working / resourcefulness. I grew up on a farm where work ethic was everything. If you didn’t do your work, there were tragic consequences. i.e. If you didn’t feed the cattle, they died. I’ve carried this over to my art practice. I work very hard to produce the best work possible and to engage with my collectors.

What is your most inspirational location, in your city?  

The Art Institute of Chicago

What is your favorite place to eat and drink, in your city?

The Chicago lake front with food made at home.

What books influenced your life and how?

The Bible. I’ve read it my whole life. Every time I read it, I discover something I didn’t see before, like the story of Abigail. It’s truly fascinating. That’s why I am doing a body of work around matriarchs of the old testament. My current drawings are about Abigail, King David’s wife.

Who are your favorite fiction writers?

Ayn Rand. Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged had a significant influence on my formative years.

You Only Die Once. What music would you listen on your last day?

Handel’s Messiah

Who is your favorite heroine?

How appropriate and timely of a question! I’m in the middle of a series drawing my favorite heroines of the Old Testament. Today my favorite heroine is Abigail. I’m doing a series of drawings on her. In short, she was super smart and beautiful. She married a horrible man. One day her husband was rude to the wrong guy (future King David). She stopped the anointed-but-not-yet-king David from killing him with her wit and charm. In the end, her husband died and then King David married her.

Who are your heroes and heroines in real life?

My heroes are the everyday people who fight unbelievable odds and succeed. I.e. the single mom with 3 kids who worked hard-labor jobs and yet enabled her children to become strong self-sustaining adults. Or. The self-made entrepreneur who creates an empire from humble beginnings.

What role does art play in your life and work?

Art is like the air I inhale and the sun that lights my day. Art is the blood in my veins, it flows in me.

Who is your greatest fan and sponsor?

My husband. He shows me support and encouragement every day. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to create art full-time.

Which people in the art profession would you love to meet in 2019?

Avid art collectors who love my work

What project, in 2019, are you looking forward to work on?

I’m currently working on a series called Abigail. I can’t wait to see what happens with the drawings and the end result. I’ve been preparing for the actual production work for 6 months now.

Where can I/we see you or your work this year?

You can schedule a studio tour anytime by appointment at

I have 8 shows lined up for 2019. I will add more as the year progresses.

Latest schedule posted on my website here:

Or on Facebook here:

2019 Schedule*

4.13-14th Fox Valley Art Ramble, Open Studio Weekend. Aurora, IL

6.8-9th Old Town Art Fair. Chicago, IL

7.27-28th Geneva Art Fair. Geneva, IL

9.21-22nd Naperville Art Fair. Naperville, IL

10.24 – 11.16 Solo Show. Starline Gallery, Harvard, IL

12.7 Open Studio. Aurora, IL

*subject to change, visit website for most up to date information

Which creative heroines should I, Peter invite to tell their story?

Patricia Mayhew Hamm, an abstract watercolorist and collage artist who works on yupo in Chetek, WI. She has a lifetime (40+) of stories about her art practice. She’s also my aunt. She had a huge influence on me in my formative artist years.

How can I/we contact you?






YouTube: Mays Mayhew Art Channel


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