Ealy Mays - Biography

 

Ealy Mays is a global contemporary artist based in Paris, France.


Born in 1959 in Wichita Falls, Texas, USA, into an intellectual family of eight, the young Ealy Mays started painting at the age of four and had his first art show in the White House at the age of eight. But despite these auspicious beginnings, he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and those of his two elder brothers to become a doctor, even though art was his true passion.

Raised in Dayton, Ohio, Mays attended Fairview High School then returned to Marshall, Texas, where he earned a BSc. in Chemistry and Biology at Willey College. Mays never stopped painting and in the early 1980s he took a long trip to the Caribbean Islands, a trip that would have a great impact on his later work.


At the age of 27 he was accepted to Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Mexico. He chose Mexico to indulge his passion for art. It didn’t take him long to discover the local art scene where he met several celebrated artists such as Rufino Tamayo, an artist known mostly for his figurative abstracts, who would later become a mentor and a great inspiration for the talented young artist.


During his time in Mexico, Mays participated in various art competitions. His art works, inspired by Mexico’s cultural, historical, and political perspectives, were exhibited at the Luger October Show in Guadalajara, at the October Art Fair in Guadalajara, at Mexico’s Galeria Clava, and many others. His painting Last Train to Chihuahua portraying a revolution-era train arriving at a station received wide coverage in local newspapers.


On his return to the United States, Mays was one of a select group of 300 artists from around the world chosen to participate in the Virtuosity Art Fair in New York, the first and largest juried exhibition to utilize three-dimensional computer technology. During the 1990s he also travelled, worked, and exhibited around the country and lived in Berkley, California for a year.


In 1996, Mays was accepted as a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he met one of his most significant mentors and later friend, Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence recognized Mays’s motivation and creativity and wrote him a recommendation to the Studio Museum in Harlem referring to him as a “pure painter” emphasizing his natural talent and his audacity in never following the crowd. Later, within the Skowhegan programme, his painting The Keyhole was exhibited in New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Lawrence’s affirmation gave Mays both a moral and a professional boost to broaden his artistic horizons.


In the late 1990s, Mays moved to Europe, to Paris. He reasoned: “I needed an intellectual environment to think, to breathe, and to paint.” He is the type of artist who likes to express without borders, to paint about controversial topics, and to search for the truth; and Paris seemed most suitable for these essential requirements. During his stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts (a residence for professional artists), Mays further developed his skills and continued working on his series such as the Black Pope, Mammy, and Ice Cream. He also created the Paris series, where he projects his experiences both as an African-American and as an American expat living in Paris.


International recognition of Mays’s work went from strength to strength. He continued exhibiting in the USA and in Europe (Italy, Finland) and his work series The Migration of the Superheroes was showcased twice at the Carrousel du Louvre, in 2005 and in 2007. He also participated in a Barack-Obama-themed exhibition in Paris, which received coverage in the New York Times in 2009.


Throughout the years, Mays has carefully infused ethnic, political, historical, religious, and satirical factors into his work, while maintaining his stance as a social critic of his time. He thinks of himself as an ‘ordinary man’, despite his work having been exhibited in numerous well-known museums, featured in various newspapers, and acquired by a number of collectors around the world. His restlessness, relentlessness, and curiosity have chaperoned his growth as an artist and, even in hard times, his dedication to the pursuit of his artistic goals has remained steadfast.


Although the creator of thousands of paintings, Mays is most proud of his single, best creation: his daughter.


EXHIBITION HISTORY:

FRANCE

2018

Art Shopping, Internationa Contemporart Art Fair Paris, Carrousel du Louvre - Individual Exhibition

2017

Afrog-Lafayette, 21 avenue du General Bizot, Paris France - Collective Exhibition - ''A la Croisee des Chemins''

Tenessee Paris, 12 rue Andre Mazet, Paris France - Individual Exhibition - "Cosmic"

Atelier 2 Deauville, Deauville France - Collective Exhibition with Caroline Sand - "Upside down"

2016

UNESCO Paris France, International Art & Charity Event – "Treasures for the Future", 2nd edition

Quai 21, 21 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

Le Caveau des Augustins, 17 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

2015

Le Balto-Theolou, 15 rue Mazarine, Paris France - Individual Exhibition - "Pokadata"

L'Atelier, 6 rue Burq, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

Quai 21, 21 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

Le Caveau des Augustins, 17 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

2014

OSMOZ Cafe, 33 rue de l'Ouest, Paris France - Individual Exhibition – "Pure Jazz"

Quai 21, 21 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

Le Caveau des Augustins, 17 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

2013

Retrospective, New York, N.Y (to be announced)

Quai 21, 21 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

Le Caveau des Augustins, 17 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition

2012

Péniche Juju, Paris France – Individual Exhibition - ”Dissection of Aunt Gemima”

Galerie John Ferrere, rue Dauphine, Paris France – Collective Exhibition

Residency, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

2011

Dorothy’s Gallery, Paris, France - Collective Exhibition - “Paris Texas – Culture Shock”

2010

Mona Lisait Library, Paris France – Individual Exhibition - “Yellow Mona Lisa”

 2009

Residency, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

Quai 21, 21 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris France - Individual Exhibition - ”Dead Mexican Series”

Gallery Jardin d’Acclimatation, Paris France – Collective Exhibition

2008

Dorothy’s Gallery, Paris France – American Appreciation Month Collective Exhibition - “Submarine Series”

Interviewed by France’s largest two newspapers: Le Monde, Le Figaro

Palais Royal, Paris France – Collective Exhibition

Black Essence Exhibition – Paris France

Mona Lisait Library, Paris France – Individual Exhibition

Residency, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

2007

Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

Residence, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition - “Submarine Series”

2006

Espace Saint-Sauveur, Hopital Corentin Celton, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux – Black History Month Collective Exhibition (with Joseph Langley)

Les Fous de l’ile, (Colonne Morris et Metro), Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

Galerie Volta, Paris France – Individual Exhibition

2005

Carrousel du Louvre, Salle Le Nôtre, Paris, France – Individual Exhibit - “Migration of the Superheroes”

2004

Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Collective Exhibition

AGICA Company Headquarters, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

2002

Residency, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Collective Exhibition

2001

Galerie Artitude, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

Galerie Loulo, Uzes, France – Individual Exhibition - “Bullfighting and Flamenco”

Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Collective Exhibition

2000

Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

Galerie SUD, rue de Charonne, Paris France – Individual Exhibition

1999

Haynes Restaurant, Paris, France – Individual Exhibit - “Homage to American Jazz in Paris”

Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France – Collective Exhibition

Paris Stock Exchange Studio Place, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

Notre-Dame de Lorette, Paris, France - Individual Exhibit

1998

Residency, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France - Collective Exhibition

Barbacane Gallery, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, Paris France - Individual Exhibit

1997

Les Fous de l’ile, 33 rue des Deux Ponts, Paris, France – Individual Exhibition

 

USA

2017

ABXY Gallery, Lower East Side  NYC, Retrospective,

2016

Hammonds House Museum, AARL Satellite Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia - From the Collections of Kerry and C. Betty Davis, Greg Richardson, Larry and Brenda Thompson. Curator, Young Hughley - Speaking Engagement / Individual Exhibition – "Ealy Mays and Image Perceptions"

2014

Houston Texas Art Fair - Collective Exhibition

2013

Retrospective, New York, N.Y (to be announced)

2012

Rice University, Houston TX - Art Conference / Speaking Engagements

University of Houston, Houston TX - Art Conference / Speaking Engagements

2011

University of Georgia Museum: Art Conference / Speaking Engagement / Individual Exhibition, “Tradition Re-defined” (Larry and Brenda Thompson collection)

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL – 200 Years of African American Art Retrospective - “The Last Vernissage”

2010

Fortissimo Gallery, New York, NY – Individual Exhibition: “From Here to There – Retrospective of 30 years of Ealy Mays Artwork”

Golf Coast Art Festival, Mobile, Alabama – Collective Exhibition

National Black & Hispanic Journalist, Atlanta Georgia – Individual Exhibition

Hamonds Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia – Collective Exhibition - African American Art Collection

University of Florida – 200 Years of African American Art Retrospective - “Tradition Re-defined” (Larry and Brenda Thompson collection)

University of Maryland College Park, David C. Driskell Center –  Collective Exhibition -“Tradition Re-defined” (Larry and Brenda Thompson collection)

2009

Hamonds Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia – Collective Exhibition -  “African American Art Collection”

Jacob Javitz Center , New York, NY – Collective Exhibition

University of Texas Southern, Houston, TX – Collective Exhibition - “Tradition Re-defined”

2008

University of Maryland College Park, David C. Driskell Center –  Collective Exhibition - “Tradition Re-defined” (Larry and Brenda Thompson collection)

Upstairs Gallery, Chicago IL – Collective Exhibition

2007

Sinclair’s Gallery New York, NY – Collective Exhibition

Polk Fine Arts, New York, NY – Individual Exhibition

2006

Art Cultural Center, Marshal TX – Individual Exhibition - “From Paris Texas to Paris France”

Hamman Gallery, Atlanta GA – Collective Exhibition

2003

New York Times National Black Fine Art Exhibition, New York, NY - Individual Exhibition

Hatch Billops Collection, New York, NY – Collective Exhibition

Ed Clark Studio Gallery, New York, NY – Collective Exhibition with Ed Clark

2002

New York Times National Black Fine Art Exhibition, New York, NY - Individual Exhibition

Hatch Billops Collection, New York, NY – Collective Exhibition

Ed Clark Studio Gallery, New York, NY – Collective Exhibition with Ed Clark

Color Purple Exhibition, Dayton, OH – Individual Collection

Cobb Gallery, Los Angeles CA – Individual Exhibition

2000

Black Creativity Contest, Chicago IL – Individual Exhibition - “In search of Spartacus”

1998

Spice Caribbean Gallery, Berkeley CA – Individual Exhibition

Gallery David Beitzel, New York, NY – Individual Exhibition

1997

Lycee Franco-American of East Bay, Berkeley, CA – Individual Exhibition - “Three Legendary Cowboys”

African American Exposition, Liwa OH (sponsored by the African American Museum of Wilberforce OH) – Individual Exhibition

1996

Guggenheim Museum & Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY – Slide Projection by the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture -  “Caribbean Rhythm”

1995

Science & Industry Exhibit, Chicago, IL – Individual Exhibition - “Caribbean Rhythm”

1994

Indiana Black Art Exhibit, IN – Individual Exhibition

1993

Dayton Art Exhibition, Dayton OH – Individual Exhibition: “Indigent Woman - Do Not Eat the Fruit of The Apple”

1991

Liberation of African American Arts Celebration, Malxcom X Park, Washington DC – Collective Exhibition - “Caribbean Paintings”

1980

Wiley College Art Expo, Marshal TX – Individual Exhibition

1978

Black Expo, TX – Individual Exposition (Acrylic) - “Seascapes / Seaside”

Wiley College Art Expo, Marshal TX – Individual Exhibition – Varied paintings

1976

Governor’s Exhibit, Dayton, OH – Individual Exhibition (Acrylic) - “The Spirit of 76”

1974

Fairview Exhibit, Dayton, OH – Individual Exhibition (Paper Colors) - “Bouquet of Water Lillies”

1973

Fairview Exhibit, Dayton, OH – Individual Exhibition (Acrylic) - “Conquistadors on Horseback”

1972

Governor’s Exhibit, Dayton, OH – Individual Exhibition (Acrylic) - “Venetian Landscape”

 

Outside the US and France:

 HUNGARY

2017

Gallery Pinter, Budapest Hungary - Individual Exhibition – "Think Outside the Box. An Ealy Mays Retrospective of 1987-2017" Curator, Barbara Brzoska and Timea Klincsek

AUSTRIA

2012

Gallerie Benedict, Vienna, Austria – Collective Exhibition - 15 varied paintings | Curator, Micaela Moore

ITALY

2000

Palazzo Barbarigio, Venice, Italy - Individual Exhibition

MEXICO

1994

Jose Clemente Orosco, Mexico City, Mexico – Individual Exhibition - “War Bus”

American School, Guadalajara, Cancun, & Monterey, Mexico – Individual Exhibition - “War Bus”

Jose Clemente Orosco, Acapulco, Morelia, Aguascalientes, Tepic, Zicatecas, Guadalajara, & Zapopan, Mexico – Individual Exhibition - “War Bus”

1993

October Art Fair, Guadalajara, Mexico – Individual Exhibition - “Last Train to Chihuahua”

1992

American Day Celebration, Guadalajara, Mexico – Individual Exhibition - “Last Train to Chihuahua”

1991

Tercer Luger October Show, Guadalajara ICC, – Individual Exhibition - “Last Train to Chihuahua”

Clave Gallery, Guadalajara Mexico, – Individual Exhibition - “Woman in Blue”

1990

American School, Guadalajara, Mexico – Individual Exhibition - “Games for Dead Flesh”