Mai La Thai - Interdisciplinary Artist based in New York
Mai La Thai is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist, photographer, writer, and self-taught filmmaker known for her innovative short films and abstract photographic Light Series made from manipulating light, liquid, and color.
She has a body of work that spans traditional and non-traditional media, including computer imaging and design, paintings, and nude gestural ink drawings from life. Her work has shown nationally and internationally in galleries and museums.
Mai’s photography has been critically reviewed as demonstrating “subtle poetry,” a
“unique perspective” and “as a way to reveal something that is not necessarily perceivable to the human eye. Or better yet, as a medium to translate experiences that are beyond
She has been interviewed in Forbes, featured in Shots UK, and is a first-place winner in the
prestigious 2019 PDN Photo Annual.
The war in Southeast Asia had just ended when I was born. I was around 2 or 3 when we escaped on a wooden boat. I have vivid memories of those experiences. These are what I consider my first photographs. We landed at a refugee camp in Malaysia. I looked out to the horizon quite often for those 13 months. Something was happening to us, but I couldn't be sure what.
It was a bewildering combination of darkness and light; of the ethereal and the ephemeral. My innocence and naiveté had me focus on the immediate world around me. Anything else left to my imagination. Everything was worth looking at and meditating on. The beetles, the sand, the tarp, the moon, the strangers, the waves, and the vast and infinite blue sea beyond the shore. What was beyond that horizon needed to be discovered and explored, even if it was the most mundane thing. Later, I also found inspiration from various environments in the west and influences from music, literature, movies, technology, space, and the sciences. Today, I continue to investigate and explore new ways of visualizing various concepts and themes. I don't always choose my medium, my mediums chooses me.
As Hemingway once said, "I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There are seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows." This viewpoint is also how I like to approach my work.