April with hubby, Christopher
I first saw April Sunami‘s work at Tacocat a few years ago. I absolutely loved the huge piece she had made of a woman’s head with hair made from shells and shades of blue. The piece resonated with me but I had no idea who had created it. Fast forward to my joining CAW and I met April at several meetings but never connected her with her work. THEN, at another meeting she was the guest speaker and, finally, I connected the woman with her art! We even got a mini tour of her studio at that time and I was totally enthralled with the small pieces she was making with seeds, pods, shells, pieces of glass, etc.
However, what finally made me seek her out for an interview was her magnificent piece of work at the Remnants show last summer at the Urban Arts Space. WOW! This piece of art that was a combination of glass bottles (installation) on the floor and a gorgeous mosaic of a woman on the wall blew me away. Needless to say, I was super psyched when the members of the group had the opportunity to walk through the space and hear each artist speak about her piece. So, for several months I pursued this lady and finally, I can share with you what I learned about her!!
April has both a B.A. and M.A. in Art History from Ohio State University. She has been exhibiting her work and creating art as a professional artist in mixed media paintings for 10 years. She has inhabited her current studio under the name of April Sunami Studios for over a year but she has had an online presence http://www.aprilsunami.com for over 7 years.
Art has been her passion since she was a little girl growing up in Cincinnati. She knew from a young age that she would work doing something creative. Drawing people, especially imaginary characters that she made up, was one of her favorite pastimes. She would even sometimes play hooky from school so she could stay home to paint or play with her pottery wheel.
Inspiration comes from her surroundings and her reading. Social history, art history, faces, patterns, abandoned materials, world cultures and religious iconography are a few of the things that she draws upon for inspiration. All of this is evident in the pieces she has created for all of the shows she has participated in.
Featured in Connect Magazine for CMA
When asked about any new techniques she has developed, she said nothing that she does is particularly new to her. However, she does love experimenting with a variety of adhesives for the mixed materials she uses. Right now her favorite is Golden’s Acrylic Gloss for her paper collages.
She describes her process here…
Every painting starts with a face. I collect images of faces and features which I sometimes find on the internet or photographs that I take of family or friends. I then paint the face using oil and then use acrylic as a foundation for the mixed media. Starting with the flattest medium (ie. paper collage) I start to build dimension and layers and work up to more voluminous materials such as shells or glass.
Remnants at Urban Arts Space
Most of her work is sold directly from her studio but is also usually available at the venues where she exhibits her work. Speaking of exhibitions, her work is currently on display at North Market through the end of August. You can also see and purchase her work in September at the Cultural Arts Center where she will be participating in a group show of diverse female artists from around the country called Dare to Be Heard. And then in October, her studio will be featured in a citywide tour of artist studios through the Columbus Open Studio and Stage. This would be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about her process and see works in the making.
Oh. and did I tell you that I am lucky enough to have one of her amazing pieces????
April explaining her piece at the CAW Landmark show
“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for” -Alice Walker