April Anue Art

Fiber Artist and Sculpter

Gallery

Artist Bio

April Anue Shipp is an interdisciplinary artist known for her mesmerizing and thought-provoking works that explore the intersection of art, history, current events and human emotions. With a unique blend of traditional techniques and innovative approaches, April creates works that challenge the boundaries of perception.

April was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. April’s passion for art emerged at an early age. Fascinated by the interplay of color and textures, she spent countless hours experimenting with various mediums, from mud/clay, paint, paper and fabrics. This multidisciplinary background laid the foundation for her diverse artistic practice, which encompasses quilt making, doll making, and sculpting.

Inspired by the ever-evolving world around her, April delves into the complexities of the human condition and the ways in which we relate to our surroundings.  Her artworks serve as visual narratives, inviting views to contemplate themes of identity, connection. Through her pieces, she seeks to evoke introspection and spark conversations about the rapidly changing society.

Over the years, April’s art has been showcased in numerous exhibitions and galleries both nationally and internationally.

Key Inspirations

History

Love

Dance

Culture

Family

Community

Artist Statement

I am the youngest daughter of Sellon Thomas Sr., a factory worker who retired after 35 years of service at a Chrysler stamping plant in Detroit.  My mother, Nellie Mae Thomas, was a stay-at-home mother of 11 children. My family never owned a car, my Mama would ride the Hamilton bus downtown on Saturday mornings, with freshly pressed hair, a pillbox hat and white gloves. Her destination, the windows at the J.L. Hudson department store on Woodward. My mother, like her mother before her, was a maker of all things cloth, they rarely used dressmaker’s patterns. She had the ability with just one glance of looking at the latest fashions in those windows, and recreating those exact dresses in her size. My mother and grandmother both died before I was 10. I never had the chance to learn any of their sewing techniques, but I believe I’ve inherited my mother’s superpower of deconstructing and reconstructing almost everything I see. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love affair with cloth. I would sneak and use my mother’s Singer sewing machine to make Barbie doll clothes when I was only eight or nine.  Sewing, and creating things with cloth is in my blood.

I think of myself as a storyteller–a griot of the cloth. I’m a fiber artist, quilt maker, and figurative sculptor working in both cloth and clay. Sculpting in clay is a new medium for me, I started sculpting two years ago on a whim. Once my hands touched clay, it was like being reacquainted with an old friend. The cloth and clay speak to me, telling me how it wants to be used. I am the conduit. Each of my works tells its own unique story. Some are painful stories from our nation’s past, while others celebrate our beauty and unity.     

I can honestly say I think everything influences and inspires me. Nina Simone once said, “One’s art should reflect the times in which you live.” Injustice and inhumanity have influenced some of my pieces, while others were influenced by my love of music, namely jazz and the blues. I also like to incorporate images of historical figures in my work, delving deeply into the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library for research to tell those stories in cloth. Doing the research is just as exciting as creating the artwork. My pieces are constructed by machine piecing and quilting, but I’m honor bound as a quiltmaker to do a small amount of hand sewing to finish each piece. Most quilts are made using only 100% cotton fabrics, and many quilters won’t stray from that. I use every type of cloth and embellishment imaginable in my work. I’ve used silk, wool, leather, beads, shells–even raffia, nothing’s off limits.  

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