So nice to be back in the hot shop today! It has been a long time, so it felt extra special!
April Malphurs is a 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals from the MN State Arts Board. This is made possible by the voters of MN thanks to legislation through the arts & cultural heritage fund.
Alone is the second piece in my Disappearing Girl series. This body of work focuses on the crisis of teen girls and mental health that is facing society today. While the rate of mental health diseases has increased for all teens (pre-covid), girls are affected twice as much as boys by this increase. Covid has only added to these stressors. What are we doing as a society to cause this increased health crisis? What role does social media play in these increases? Why does it affect our daughters more than our sons? What can we do to change it?
These are the questions we need to struggle with as a society. We need to put mental health at the forefront of our discussions. We need to treat those who suffer from these diagnosis with the same care, concern, respect, and empathy that we do those with cancer. And we need to dedicate resources to help those in need.
Each piece in the Disappearing Girl Series is meant to help society deepen their empathy. Not sympathy, not pity, but empathy. Empathy requires you to be vulnerable and to feel what that person is going through. Each mixed media canvas is meant to help the viewer feel what the person is feeling. To vicariously feel what it is like to struggle with a mental illness.
Alone plunges us into depression. I wanted to capture the delicacy of human beings in contrast to the harshness the world can present. To capture the emptiness and isolation a person with depression feels. I will be honest that I started this one two years ago and then put it aside for quite a while.
Once my thyroid medication needed readjusting and sent me into depression. I would be having an amazing day and burst into tears and depression for no reason, out of the blue. I felt like I had no control. I was scared. For me, my doctor could adjust my thyroid medication and solve it. For most it isn’t that easy.
As a mother, I have watched and helped my child, my daughter, my baby suffer and worked endlessly to pull her from the jaws of this disease. She has said, “Mom, I wouldn’t be alive, if not for what you did.” But what about those who don’t have that help or who don’t tell anyone they are suffering out of fear of judgement or because they don’t have anyone they trust enough to tell?
So yes I put finishing this one off for a while because it required sitting deep in empathy and after living it for so long as a parent, I didn’t want to go there. I didn’t want to face that feeling.
Last month I got a call from my brother, Marcus. It was like a punch to the stomach. I couldn’t focus on work or anything for days. I knew it was time to finish this piece. Grief shares a lot of similar feelings with depression and so it was time. I could let myself feel those feelings I didn’t want to empathize with.
The process was cathartic. It helped me feel and to heal. Because in order to make change we have to let ourselves feel.
To Josh Bly: May you rest in peace. You died too young, and yet your big smile and blonde curls at age three, when I would come home from college, are those that pop into my head the most. I am so happy you followed your dreams. I wish I could have tasted your chef trained French cuisine or beautiful pastry work, almost too gorgeous to eat. You were an artist with food. I’m so glad you found happiness and love. But 38 is too young to die. No foul play, no suicide, no answers, just gone. Know you were loved little brother. Wishing eternal love and peace for you.
Alone and Too Much! on view at Hopkins Center for the Arts through May 8. Opening this Friday 6-8pm
Last week I received this letter announcing I had been accepted into the 2022 class at the NAEA School for Art Leaders. I am honored and absolutely thrilled for this opportunity to explore leadership with other art educators and the chance to develop myself. This comes at the perfect time in my life as I have been wanting the chance to think about what my priorities are and the directions I want to go as an artist and educator.
Earlier this month I attended the National Art Educators Association Convention in NYC. It was exilerating! I got to see old friends, make new friends, meet people I only knew via zoom, and listen to inspiring stories from artists and art educators from all over the country. And now I get to continue this energy with the School for Art Leaders! I can’t wait for this journey to begin!
This fall I am sending my youngest off to college and I am sending off sculptures to new homes. With both a little piece of my heart will stay with them as they move onto their new life stage. With both doing the job successfully means parting and stepping back with pride. I was fortunate to get to meet the new owners of each sculpture this week and they are so excited to welcome them into their homes. Cheers to a good life and loving home!
Honeycomb delivered to its new home today. Botanical Fantasies will go to its new home after the MN State Fair ends.
April Malphurs is a 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This is made possible by the voters of Minnesota thanks to legislation through the arts & cultural heritage fund.
I am excited to announce that you can see me working live at the MN State Fair this Sunday August 29. I am one of twelve artists invited to be a part of Studio: Here at the Minnesota State Fair. Studio: Here is in it’s ninth year with the goal of giving the public a behind the scenes look at how artists create their artwork. Each artist has one twelve hour day to share their process at the fair. I will be working this Sunday August 29 9am-9pm in the Fine Arts Building Studio: Here space. It is such an honor for me to be a part of the fair and last night’s preview night felt a little surreal. In MN the fine arts exhibit at the state fair is a really big deal and the MN State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the country, so my head is spinning.
On Sunday 29 I will be doing live flame-working demos throughout the day, intermixed with occasional interviews and work on my sculpture pieces and jewelry. I am excited to get to share my process with everyone and I will also have work for sale at the state fair in the marketplace. Botanical Fantasies (pictured above) is also on exhibit at the fair at the Fine Arts Building in the Studio: Here gallery.
I have the bees’ approval! My recent work has focused on the symbiotic relationship between humans and bees. Inspired by a bee that kept photo bombing (above left) when I was taking pictures of my piece, Botanical Fantasies, I began researching bees and hives. I have always been amazed at the architectural beauty and stability of bee hives. I have enjoyed exploring a variety of methods of using glass to create bee hives, honey drippers, honey pots and vases to remind us of the importance of these small creatures to our own lives. We need to take care of them, because they help feed us. Our lives depend on them and their lives depend on us!
April Malphurs is a 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.