Based between England and Istanbul, artist April Key straddles the line between art, architecture, and light practice. Born and raised in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Key attended Edinburgh College of Art where she then went on to further education at Istanbul Teknik University. Architecture is a prevalent subject throughout her work, with her building-like sculptures giving energy through strong saturated colour to the surrounding environment, demanding attention from the viewer and creating a captivating performance through use of colour, light and material.
Her continuing project ‘Ocean Drive’ invokes all of these characteristics. Starting with the discovery of an old pack of Kodachrome films at a local flea market in Istanbul, Key digitized the films which revealed a stunning narrative of a Turkish couple who moved to USA in the early 1950’s, bought a Cadillac and took it cruising through the majority of the states before settling in Miami. April’s aim was to take these fading memories and immortalise them into strong statuesque objects, resembling an ever-growing modern-retro cityscape.
Ocean Drive is a continuing series of works, with the artist on average releasing 1-2 pieces a year to the collection. The sculptures are fabricated in her own workshop, which she set up 3 years ago in Kadikoy, an art-hub district in Istanbul. Working with local fabricators and makers, the pieces are produced with moulded plexiglass and handblown glass neon, which are embedded into the forms. The use of original glass neon is extremely important as a material to Key’s work. For her it represents the craftsmanship that we relate with an older era (in which the found inspirations originate from), and in using it wanting to highlight the importance of a craft process which to her embodies imagination, innovation and brilliance.
April’s work has been shown internationally in such places like Istanbul, New York, Germany, Portugal. Key’s first solo show in Milan in 2019 came with resounding success, with her going to receive various accolades from publications such as Sotheby’s and Elle Decor magazine. April is represented by Yi Gallery (NY) and Martch (Turkey).