Joan LeMay got the chance to spend an unusual amount of time drawing as a child because the severity of her asthma kept her tethered to a nebulizer (a machine that vaporizes medicine and administers it through a mask and tube) several times daily until she was around 12. While tethered, she drew people, plants, environments--and lots of dogs, cats and birds, all of which she was (and still is) allergic to. Now, as an adult, gouache pet portraiture has become a big focus of her work, alongside creating portraits of people for clients, herself, or illustration outlets such as Lenny Letter, Racquet Magazine, Paste Magazine and Broadly.
Her work often features a wallpapered background (she loves interior decor and does work in that field) that communicates something about the subject. She also loves painting non-representationally, and works emotionally-charged, action-based abstract elements into her practice. She's interested in pattern, gesture, cheek circles and Byzantine halos.
Her work has been exhibited in Houston, Texas (Blaffer Gallery), Pomona, CA (Glass House), Koln, Germany (Kunst Kunst Gallery), Los Angeles, CA (Unitard Gallery, Four Eyes Art Collective), Seattle, WA (Tether Gallery, Velouria, Solo, Crocodile Cafe', The Anne Bonney, Ghost Gallery, Derek Erdman's International House of Paintings), Portland, OR (PDX Salon, Mississippi Studios, The Woods, Tiga, Disjecta Contemporary Art, Albina Press), Anacortes, WA (Cascadia Contemporary Art), Austin, TX (Monstrosity Gallery) and New York City, NY (Brouwerij Lane, Oslo, HiFi).
Her album artwork appears on LPs by Benjamin Gibbard, Laura Gibson, Dave Depper, Jennifer O'Connor, The White Papers, and others.
She is currently creating artwork for the upcoming documentary film "It's Not A Burden", produced and directed by the Emmy-nominated team at Greenie Films. She is also, and always, taking portraiture commissions for pets, people and places, and continues to illustrate for multiple outlets.