Photo of Maya James

Maya James

Traverse City, MI, United States

As a writer, singer-songwriter, painter, and artist I have found great inspiration in my natural and human surroundings from the skyscrapers of New York City and the bustle of downtown Los Angeles, to the cobblestone sidewalks of Florence Italy, the mountains of Delphi, Greece, and the woods of northern Michigan in which I live. My inspiration, however, is in no way based on fuselage. Injustices are flooding the new generation especially after the rise of white supremacy with the election of Donald Trump. Police brutality, extremist hate groups, a rising oligarchy, racism, poverty, homophobia, for-profit prisons, and lack of education have come to the point where they are unavoidable, and it's the people's responsibility to bring them to light. I have performed across the country and have commuted nationally and internationally with my cause. On the iTunes podcast 'Risk!' episode 639 "Survivors", I tell a story of the brunt end of racism as a minority in Northern Michigan that is later featured in The New York Times and USA Today College. At my Twisted Fish Gallery opening I performed "Adele" which shined a light on climate change, police brutality, racism, and sexism in the new era and has been performed cross country. I opened for the Portland Poetry Slam in 2013 with my poem 'Dark Place', about the classist pressures of a rich educational and economic environment. During my attendance at Interlochen Arts Academy I performed many spoken word pieces annually. Some included " Dearest" and "Brenda's Got A Baby", both pertaining to the topic of teen pregnancy. My end of the year IAA performance was a collection of poems based on body image, depression, racism and trauma. My work begun with my first poetic performance '5'5" and 143 lbs; explaining the process of growing up average sized in a world that wants you to think, act, and make yourself; smaller. My work transcends the basis of LGBTQIA+ rights and the epidemic of racism spanning into domestic abuse, feminism and the concept of what it means to be a woman. I strive to represent my beliefs as a half-black, half-white female unapologetically. All of my works are created in the hopes of an even bigger product of new youth revolutions as those created by Harvey Milk, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Gloria Steinem. This is a hard and dangerous job in a generation that runs (or shoots) towards silence and hides behind screens, but my life would be meaningless without it. As the daughter of an artist I am skeptical of the adoption of my visual, performance, physical, and literary work as a representation of my physical self; but instead find joy in the process and releasing my creations as separate objects in this universe. Although I create my art, my art is not my physical self. At home I enjoy hula hooping in the open space, reading fantasy books and studying radical activists as well as movements of social change. In my free time I enjoy writing and illustrating, hiking, rollerskating, and most importantly spending time with my family and my adorable niece, Lilian.

Maya's ArtPrize Entries

These are Maya's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.

  • Photo of This Woman Believes: And Other Untold Stories

    This Woman Believes: And Other Untold Stories

    2018 ArtPrize Entry Maya James
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Maya's Past Work

These are images of past work that Maya has done.

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