When Nikki May first found the book "A Woman and Her Needs" by Elizabeth Oaks Smith, she thought it was going to be typical of the time period it was written in. Published about 150 years ago, when women were struggling for rights, it seemed like a book that would give women more rules, teaching them how to behave in different situations.
Nevertheless, she was interested in the dusty book. She brought it home and began to read. By the end of the book, she learned a very important lesson: don't judge a book by its cover.
"Turns out this whole book is pretty enlightening," May said. "It's probably one of the first feminist pieces of writing."
Then May did something that most people who discover a book that is centuries old wouldn't normally think to do. She began to draw on the pages.
May filled the pages with pictures to go along with the words she had read. While Smith's book was filled with diatribes about how women should be allowed to vote and have a voice in society, May made her message more modern. Her drawings showed women of all shapes and sizes.
"These are normal women," May explained. "They have curves and some size. What I drew shows that they are beautiful, too."
May's work earned her the title of Best Local Artist in a poll last year by the Paducah magazine Bazooka. The iList Paducah co-partner also owns Blue Frog Designs, a web company specializing in graphic design and illustration.
The show, titled “A Woman and Her Needs” after the book, is on display at the Tribecca Gallery, 127 Market House Square, Paducah. Her work will be displayed until May 4.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.