Visit Kayla Mahaffey’s latest solo show, “Remember the Time” at Thinkspace Gallery

Thinkspace Projects presents Kayla Mahaffey‘s latest solo show, Remember the Time.” Mahaffey examines the language of nostalgia in this collection of large-scale new works on canvas.


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Summer days, children playing, neighborly love, peace…quiet. Nostalgia creates a shroud of positivity, coating childhood memories and glossing over the rougher moments. Although past chaos and hate have always been present, there is a shared recollection of peaceful times. Mahaffey examines this cyclical phenomenon in “Remember the Time,” acknowledging that though we are in the midst of a difficult time, heavily influenced by generations before, there is value in the sugar-coated nostalgia as well.


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Mahaffey herself finds comfort in the fond memories of her childhood, creating a signature style heavily influenced by the very cartoons that filled those carefree childhood moments. Mahaffey is known for her hyper realistic renderings accented with elements of pop surrealism and animation. Her colorful works depicting Black children in the midst of cartoon-like capers and contemplations speak of youth, fantasy, and creativity. She channels the fresh eyes of a child, beautifully rendering scenes that transport the viewer to that very period of life.

While the word cartoon has certain childish connotations, Mahaffey has highlighted the true importance of this lighthearted entertainment. She acknowledges that cartoons are often the first time children are exposed to the concept of morality, with a clear right and wrong, giving simple characters and stories a layered and complex second life. Mahaffey, a self-proclaimed nerd, is able to elevate these elements within her work, reminding us that cartoons were once an important escape during their early years, and there’s nothing to say they cannot be again. Her work inspires viewers to return to that state of mind, providing a necessary escape when the surrounding world has become increasingly difficult.

“Remember the Time” is on view until October 9, 2021 at Thinkspace Projects.

Kayla Mahaffey (aka Kayla May) is a contemporary artist specializing in Illustration and Fine Arts. Her style being a mixture of pop art and Afro-surrealism makes for a bright and colorful experience that packs a punch as well as sends an important message with each piece. Born on the Chicago South Side, she has a strong sense of resilience and community that is displayed in her art work time and time again. She studied at the American Academy of Art in Downtown Chicago, taking some classes, before leaving in 2017 to pursue art full-time.

*Masks and Social Distancing Required*


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September 18, 2021 – October 9, 2021

Gallery Hours:

Tuesday 12PM-6PM
Wednesday 12PM-6PM
Thursday 12PM-6PM
Friday 12PM-6PM
Saturday 12PM-6PM





Location: Gallery I


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