April Mihalovich's work is "fresh," not in the sense that it tries too hard to be unconventional or edgy, but (at the risk of sounding cliche and flowery) "fresh" the way morning dew resting gently on rose petals is fresh, the way overgrown ivy slowly creeping up the side of an old building is fresh; it has a sort of timeless, organic beauty because it seems like a natural extension of April herself.
An artist, photographer, and writer, April creates pieces that don't only capture life, but also feel alive, in the same manner that your past selves appear to live on in the walls of your childhood home. Drawing from natural elements and placing friends and family at the center, her photographs are not just personal to her, but also evoke a sort of poignant nostalgia in the viewer, calling to mind a blur of forgotten memories, like Proust’s madeleine in In Search of Lost Time.
But April isn’t just inspired by the events of her own life. Her art also demonstrates technical ability, and she’s vocal about the impact other artist’s have had on her work, packing mini art-history lessons into her Instagram stories in a series titled “Artist of the Week” (so far she’s featured Joan Mitchell, Frank Stella, and Tschabalala Self).
Still, April’s work shines because of its intimate qualities. Her command of imagery is most obvious when she is translating a fleeting personal experience into a universal keepsake.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
I tend to find qualities and traits within people to model myself after, as I’ve found I can’t really subscribe fully to one person. I would say I look most often towards some of my friends, because they are closest to me and I see them working and achieving daily, so it’s the most accessible form of inspiration I can get. I’ve been lucky to grow up around a lot of really artistic people, and I’ve been able to maintain those connections over the years.
What’s your favorite memory?
When I was six at a summer camp in Granada with my mom and brother and we hiked the mountains one day and went to this amazing place that even now my description fails to capture. It was a swim-up restaurant, and while you waited for your food you could splash and play at the top of a small waterfall or bask on rocks in the sun. I remember it being the absolutely coolest place to my six year old (and even eighteen year old...) self.
What’s something you thought was cool when you were younger that you no longer think is cool?
To this day I still don’t know why but when I was little I was OBSESSED with being a teenager. I had this one pair of shorts I called my “teenager shorts” because I thought they made me look older...I was literally seven. It seems like kind of a given that I’d grow out of it, but I also learned about a lot more of the complexity that comes with being a teenager, and how that experience is so different to everyone for reasons that can be completely out of your control. While I have enjoyed my teenage years, I don’t think I would jump to classify them as “cool.”
What work are you most proud of?
Honestly, I’m most proud of the work that nobody sees. When I finally go public with a poem or a photo I cherish the fact that no one can see how much time I have put into drafts, and the quiet afternoons of writing absolutely nothing into my notebook. It’s the silent work that makes me feel the most proud of what I do because it reassures me that I have and I will continue to do what I love when no one is watching.
How would you describe your artistic sensibilities?
This is something I’ve only recently noticed, but my preferences toward art and writing are completely opposite. In writing, I respond deepest to intimate pieces full of description and grounding imagery that gives a gritty and full sense of real life. This helps me to visualize so clearly the author’s intention. In art, however, I value most that which is abstract and pieces filled with color that invoke me to create my own story. I guess in art I prefer to do more of the work myself...that may come from being a writer and wanting a bit of creative license of my own.
What’s something you never get tired of?
Driving alone in my car and listening to music. I always joke to my family that my calling in life is to be a long haul trucker because I love nothing more than hours of listening to whatever I want without interruptions of the outside world or other people. It’s my favorite kind of alone time.
Do you have a favorite art form? Why/why not?
As far as visual arts go, I’m very partial to collage pieces because it aligns the most with my creative process in writing, interestingly enough. I always start with finished fragments and stitch them together and keep reworking it that way, and I feel like collage is kind of a parallel to that.
What art do you most identify with?
I find myself most fully represented by photography, because it really is the lens through which I view the world, and often I feel it is the medium through which I can most accurately portray my vision.
How do you define art? What do you think the role of artists is?
For me, art has always been therapeutic and an outlet for me to stay sane in my daily routine. While I believe art is in the eye of the beholder, I also believe that it goes both ways. Ideally, art should seek to benefit both the creator and the consumer. The role of the artist is a producer, a translator, a creator, and it’s a considerable role for one person to take on.