ART OF GRAPHIX: The art of having a constant focus

By Deidre Bastian

Albert Einstein says: “Creativity is just intelligence having fun.” Marie Evans, who has splashed and dabbed her paint brush across her canvas for many years, epitomises this description. And she is now sharing her passion as a Fine Art artist.

Graphix Question:

How did you start?

Answer: Initially I started painting at the age of seven, but began professionally in my 20s. Art, for me, was a gift that evolved from a love to a passion. I always knew I was good at capturing images with my pencil, then applying colours, bringing that image to life. I saw the interest people took in my work and I loved it, knowing the thing that I love made them happy.

Q: When did you decide to become an artist?

A: When I went to college I decided to pursue fashion merchandising It was then that it became clear to me that art was where I needed to be.

Q: Who is your favourite artist?

Wow! ...My favourite artist would go back to the masters, being Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edgar Degas. Then Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Voka. These artists laid the ground work for the art movement and are still my favourites.

Nonetheless, the Bahamian artist I grew up knowing and absolutely loving is the late Brent Malone. I was taken by how well he painted the human form, which inspired me. I would stop into Marlborough Antiques just to view his paintings; that’s how captivated I was with his work...

Also, Bahamian artists Kendal Hanna, Max Taylor, Thierry Lamare and Rolfe Harris are all additional favourites. As a matter of fact, in my late teens I trained under Bahamian artist Homer Williams, a very good realism artist whom I admire a great deal. Then there’s Wendy Rahming-Cartwright, my friend and another exceptional artist, whom I met at Homer Williams art classes back then.

I’m always inspired by my very own son, Doulton Evans who’s doing some amazing stuff ... but there’s no one artist that I call my absolute favourite, because I like so many of them.

Q: WHAT is your ‘method’ of painting?

A: I prefer acrylics, so I do a lot of canvas paintings as well as paper, but I’m a very creative thinker so I can jump across the board at any point, using whatever medium it takes to bring a vision forward.

Q: What inspires you?

A: I’m inspired by the world around me, the mood I’m in at the moment, love, sadness, all those evocative emotions.

Q: Which of your artwork pieces is your favourite?

A: A piece I did years ago called The Joke, because it has lots of colours, movement, very uninhibited. It reminds me of a Voka painting.

Q: What would you call your style?

A: Umm! ...My style is whimsical and colourful. I’ll call my style abstract expressionism/ pontaneous realism.

Q: What’s the best thing about being an artist?

A: It is the constant universal message art conveys. I like the fact that it is an expression that breaks all cultural, social and language barriers. It is also a good companion to self.

Q: What’s the worst thing about being an artist?

A: Trying to make a steady income from art if you are not yet fully established or a noted artist.

Q: What helped to shape you?

A: My first influences came from my grandmother Aileen Wilson, who taught me how to draw a human figure. She was a milliner, who made her own hats and designed some of her clothing. She had great style; she taught me to see the art in everything. She would show me how to sketch out her designs, then we would sew them. I guess this was my first lesson in illustration. I traveled a lot with her in summer to West Palm Beach and New York to visit my dad and other family members. Those trips were great influences that shaped my life.

My mother also influenced me with the art she created in her embroidery work. She usually purchased her patterns, but if there was something in particular she wanted she would have me sketch it out and that would become her pattern.

Q: What was your first painting? Do you still have it today?

A: My first painting was done in high school as a part of an assignment, reproducing Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘Proserpine”. I did a good job replicating it, and no, I don’t have it today. Wish I did.

Q: What is the inspiration behind your work?

A: My love for creating. I like documenting Bahamian life in my own crazy way, I guess, while still sticking to the essence of it, so if you see my painting ‘Making da Basket’, although it is abstract you’ll know its Bahamian because of the details - ‘raffia rosettes’ on it or the straw plait.

Q: How does the Internet affect art today?

A: It’s a bit of a double-edged sword there. While the Internet opens the eyes and imagination, it can also limit the creative process by plagiarism. In that way I think the use of the Internet becomes a disservice.

Q: Did you ever feel like giving up?

A: Never on art. Maybe on making a living by art, but then that never bothered me much. If I felt the need to do something else to make a living, I did that, but art remained constant.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

A: Understanding the power of observation is my first bit of advice. See the world around you, not necessarily through physical travel alone, but do it vicariously using tools like the internet. College is definitely a plus, if you can go. It exposes you to a lot in the art world, it gets you connected. Use the local art competitions like the Central Bank’s and any others out there. The College of the Bahamas does a very good summer workshop with some of the best Bahamian art instructors. This is a good platform for aspiring artists to get a feel for what it’s like to prepare their work and have it up for sale, possibly getting it sold. Until we meet again, live life for memories as opposed to regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game!

• NB: Columnist welcomes feedback at deedee21bastian@gmail.com

ABOUT COLUMNIST: Ms Bastian is a professionally-trained graphic fesigner/marketing coordinator with qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of the Bahamas, Nova Southeastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas.


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