April Armand talks all-female art show 'Glass, Cinder & Thorns III' 

Metro Times: Do you think that art in general has a problem of being too male-dominated?

April Armand: I think it's getting better. As a woman, you have a lot more obstacles if you're a wife or if you decide to be a mother. There's these things that hinder your creative process. I know a few of my favorite artists in the past have decided to become mothers. They didn't create for quite some time, but now that their children are older they can finally get back in the scene. As a man, even if you're a dad or a husband, you have much more freedom to do what you need to do.

MT: A lot of the art in the show has a feminine quality — is that fair to say?

Armand: I think that's fair. I think it's naturally going to come out in the way we touch anything. It's how we get dressed — we all put makeup on, we do our hair — we're going to have a more feminine touch than a man would. And a man is not going to respond to a fairy tale subject matter the way a woman would. But I think it's a lot of the artists I go for too. A lot of the artists that I pick tend to have that whimsical, light hand, a very delicate take.

MT: I've heard a lot of artists say that women are better at illustrating women than men.

Armand: I can see that being true, but I also feel like there are a lot of men who do a wonderful job.

MT: Are any artists returning from past editions of the show?

Armand: A lot of them have been in all three. I do have a handful of new artists that have not been a part of the show. This is the biggest group of artists we've ever had for the show. I believe it's a little over 40.

MT: One funny thing we noticed is a number of entries feature Snow White.

Armand: In the curator's statement, I asked for the artists' take on fairy tales — what we thought fairy tales were about isn't always the same. The Little Mermaid dies, Sleeping Beauty was defiled and gave birth while she was sleeping, Snow White was poisoned. Even in Cinderella, the step-sisters end up cutting off their toes and their heels just to fit in the shoe. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first Disney princess movie.

MT: Millennials seem to have a really unique relationship with Disney princesses. We're obsessed.

Armand: Exactly. When we grew up there was almost one a year for all of the ’90s where they did a movie. It was all these sexy princesses, and "happily ever after." If you grew up in the ’90s, you're definitely going to have that Disney idea of fairy tales.

MT: The gallery's really gone a long ways from its 323East days.

Armand: I think if anyone who hasn't come to Inner State yet will be so impressed compared to where it's come from. It surprises me every day to know they went from my husband, me, Jesse Cory, and two other people to know they have a staff of almost 30 people working for them now. It started off as a simple idea and a dream, and it's become something huge.

MT: Anything else you want MT readers to know about the show?

Armand: If you're a lady, we have the ladies-only preview the day before. No men allowed. I think the only man we're having is our bartender. Otherwise, definitely come out for the opening — a lot more of the artists will be there for the opening.

Female-only VIP preview is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 at Inner State Gallery, 1410 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; 313-744-6505; innerstategallery.com; no cover. Opens to the general public from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 20. Runs until April 25.

View 19 works of art from Glass, Cinder and Thorns III here.

More by Lee DeVito

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