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Kemi Mai and Her Beautifully ‘Lit’ Digital Portraits

At only 18 years old, Manchester-based Kemi Mai continues to impress with her attention-grabbing use of colored lighting, surreal settings and youthful expressions. As a self-taught artist, she is constantly experimenting with new mediums - although a vast majority of what she shares is digital. Kemi recently added some new work to her S6 shop so figured it was a good time to get a quick chat in.

BEN: What about colored light excites you?

KEMI: Light can tell a story in itself. There are colour schemes that I'll tend to go to when I'm trying to set a certain tone, but I also try to challenge myself to work with colors that don't initially sit right with me.

Kemi Mai

Water Me

Many of the gazes you've illustrated seem to carry some combo of curiousity and defiance. Any specific emotions you're tackling?

I'm always a little hesitant when it comes to talking about the thoughts and emotion that drive my work. I think most people are aware of how pretentious explanations of art can be. Every piece I make begins with an abstract thought or strain of emotion, but they're also very much open to the interpretations of anyone who might care to interpret them.

Wild Phantasm

I'm a sucker for a story. Any good ones?

Generally, I hate being forced to do things twice, but when my computer screen went black thanks to a power cut (whilst running on AC), I ended up having to start one of my paintings over. The piece, coincidentally or not so coincidentally, is titled 'Start Over'. The actual idea behind it wasn't so literal, as it began as an observation of people's tendencies to create resolutions and plan for new beginnings at the start of a new year. But the frustration that came from having to start over brought me a stubborn refusal to rush progress on the piece. I spent longer than I ever planned working on it and a year later, it's still one of my most detailed works.

Kemi Mai

 Start Over

Kemi Mai 

Fragments

Kemi Mai

Full Circle

Kemi Mai

Bloom

Kemi Mai

Ultraviolet

Kemi Mai

Artist Feature

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Comments

MyLove4Art commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:15am
WoW! I'm amazed with this wonderful work! Love the expressions, colors and lights in all of them!
Alaskan Momma Bear commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 12:14pm
What a talented young lady! All these pieces are truly fantastic works of art!
k_c_s commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 1:01pm
Wow!
MissCrocodile63 commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 1:22pm
Great work
Egberto Fuentes commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 1:51pm
Beautiful portraits, great talent and skills for a young girl :)
AnnaF31 commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 3:43pm
Stunning work!
Aftab commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 6:23pm
i Love it. Great Work
gabriellaaudrey commented on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:06pm
Gosh Kemi is so talented. If I can ever be half as talented as her I would be happy. Keep it up doll!
marzesu collages commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 7:24am
WOW! she is amazing! Great talent!
StazKnak commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:29am
Great work and great answer!!! "''I always a little hesitant when it comes to talking about the thoughts and emotion that drive my work. I think most people are aware of how pretentious explanations of art can be."
milyKnight commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:29am
Wonderful art work and interesting article! Thanks for sharing!
Iconic Arts commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:41am
stunning, love them all x
Natalie Foss commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:55am
Love love love :-)
38 Sunsets commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 2:07pm
this is cool!
Amy J Smith Photography commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 3:18pm
Lovely portraits!
Emmanuelle Ly commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 3:55pm
wow stunning !
Marlene Watson commented on Thursday, January 15, 2015 5:43pm
Lovely work. Keep going. Looking forward to watching how you develop.
Earthlightened commented on Friday, January 16, 2015 7:17am
You are so talented!
ArtistChichi commented on Friday, January 16, 2015 9:03am
Your work is so awesome!
christian richter commented on Friday, January 16, 2015 11:40am
very cool concept behind your pictures
Kemi Mai commented on Saturday, January 17, 2015 11:08am
So great to have had such an awesome response to my rambling, haha. Thanks for all your kind words! :)
Triple_S_Art commented on Saturday, January 17, 2015 1:32pm
Amazing artwork!
Franziska Viviane Zobel commented on Monday, January 19, 2015 6:22am
Inspiring and beautiful artwork!
Ashley Colette Dadaglio commented on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 1:10pm
im in love. these are beautiful!
Stephan Parylak commented on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 6:09pm
Nice little write up. Congratulations Kemi Mai!
Sarah Maurer commented on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 8:44pm
Beautiful pieces! Amazing art Kemi Mai.
josemanuelerre commented on Sunday, January 25, 2015 12:27pm
This is so inspiring! Thanks for sharing
Meowmeland commented on Monday, January 26, 2015 12:46pm
Beautiful paintings
Mrs Araneae commented on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 6:19am
Beautiful artworks
NOT MY TYPE commented on Friday, January 30, 2015 1:50am
Amazing work. What a talent!
Λdd1x7 commented on Friday, January 30, 2015 10:19am
awesome
Swen Swensøn commented on Friday, January 30, 2015 12:23pm
+++ wonderful work +++
Krystal Black commented on Monday, February 2, 2015 9:45pm
I love it all!!!

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