Interview By Sara Estes
Mae Aur is an artist living and working in Memphis, TN. Her painting, Give Her Space Give Her Time, appeared on the cover of Number:86.
Much of your work blurs the line between 2-D and 3-D. How do you describe your art in your own words?
I can’t paint and I can’t draw, but I can cut out shapes and mold forms. Basically, I’m a sculptor trying to make paintings.
What’s your background? Hometown, work life, education, etc.
My dad’s from Brazil and my mom’s British. Take those two cultures, toss them in Memphis, TN and you’ll have some rambunctious, freethinking, and very passionate weirdos. I’m talking about my siblings of course, I came out totally normal.
Your work feels like candy, in the best possible way. The color palette is sugary. soft-hued, and intoxicating. Your line is often smoothed and refined to perfection. What guides your sense of color?
Perpetual preteen tendencies and an insatiable sweet tooth
Can you talk about your process for making the pieces? Are you working in a woodshop or in your home? What are go-to tools?
Being inside in the air conditioning makes me sad so I’m outside as much as possible. It’s hot out there so I work while everyone else is asleep. I have a garage that opens up to my backyard. I work there while my cats hunt cicadas. I feel isolated there, and I like that feeling. I keep it simple with my tools. I use a jigsaw, hand planers, and a whole lot of sandpaper.
What would the ideal day in the studio look like for you?
6pm-3am, no cell phone, no visitors, Trina on repeat, Diet Coke, and a 69% chance of thunderstorms.
You seem to be pulling some visual cues and symbolism from various cultural sources and genres. What things have been inspiring and influencing you lately?
Unnecessary emotional turmoil that no one needs to know about.
Your work is so controlled and deliberate. What conceptual themes are brimming beneath the surface?
I’ve failed as an artist if I have to explain.
Where have you exhibited your work previously? Are you with a gallery now?
I’m not with a gallery but I just showed in New Orleans for the first time at Martine Chassion Gallery.
Any exhibitions or events in the pipeline our readers would be interested in knowing about?
I have a new collection in the works. Part of it includes a beach set titled “Beach Please”. Later this summer it’ll be installed in the window of the old Memphis Bicycle Company at 2575 Summer Ave.
If you could have ANY work of art you wanted, free of charge—what would it be?
Probably something dumb expensive by a dead French dude. I’d immediately sell it, take that $300 million+, and buy myself a pink ’67 Chevy Nova with cream interior. Might as well buy and renovate Prince Mongo’s