For Bondi-based landscape and still-life artist Stephen Evans there was never any question that he would follow anything but a creative path.
Born in Birkenhead England in 1967 and moving with his family to Australia in 1970, Evans was consumed by art. By his teen years he spent much of his school time in the art classrooms, with the blessing of his art teacher, studiously avoiding more academic pursuits.
At high school he turned his skills to the stage and to film, creating sets and scenic backgrounds for school productions and producing short animated films. The experience proved good grounding, enabling him to turn his hand to cell animation for advertising agencies as he completed his studies in set design and stage management at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Evans credits his scenic and animation experiences as key influences in his landscape style. He said, "Learning to work with a limited space teaches you to force or warp depth and perspective to give the impression that there is more space. Now I often elevate from the horizon line to get a better vantage point, working from mountains, roof tops or helicopters."
On graduating, Stephen moved to Sydney to work as a scenic artist. During this period he continued to paint and exhibit, with notable entries in The King's School Art Prize, 1999, The Waverley Art Prize, 1996, and the Mosman Art Prize in 1999.
In 2000 he made the decision to concentrate on painting full time.
Evans admits his work is inspired by his surrounds. In his Bondi Beach series you see the views that have made the beach synonymous with the laid-back, sun-loving Australian way of life. Sun bakers, surf-lifesaving clubs, children playing in rock pools - a picture-perfect encapsulation of the Australian national psyche.
Evans said, "I just soak up what's around me".
But Evans art is far from impetuous. His technique draws not only from his personal experiences, but is also influenced by Van Gough, Cezanne, Gaudi, Miro, Juniper, Robinson, Matisse, Giacometti and Picasso. He said, "They are groundbreakers in the use of colour, light and form."
While he admires Van Gogh's honest approach and his use of colour to project an emotion he says, "the biggest lesson I learnt from Van Gogh was to remove black from my palette; there is no black in nature, only an absence of light."
Gaudi and Miro he says, represent colour and form as a religion. "In Barcelona the city seems embraced by an intense light that bleaches everything it touches. It taught me to approach colour in a more subdued and honest way." Mattisse, Giacometti and Picasso he says, inspire strong fluid work.
Evans also pays homage to Australian artists Robert Juniper and William Robinson. Juniper's landscapes he describes as "unique" saying that "he has captured the outback better than any other Australian artist". William Robinson's "epic" and "godlike" works he describes as "technically brilliant."
Technical brilliance has become a hallmark of Evans work. In his Big Toys series he concentrates on blending scenic and trompe l'oeil skills with oil subjects, focussing on high reflection or patina ageing. In his Vintage Objects: toasters, bakelite telephones and fire extinguishers, he focuses on the amazing forms and colours in their reflections. He said, "They are everyday, often superseded objects that I like to think have been given a new life."
Above all, Evans work is honest. His still life, which he describes as "intimate" often has no composure. He likes to paint it as simple and real.
Evans is currently working on a number of commissions and preparing pieces for his next exhibition at the Jackman Galleries in Melbourne in June 2006.
1992 to Present
Curlewis St, Bondi Beach
Finalist - 2008 -
Mosman Art Prize
Finalist - 2009 -
Mount Eyre Vineyard Art Prize
1986 to 1988
Western Austalian Academy of Performing Arts
Set Design/Stage Management
1987 to 1988
Perth College of the Arts
Solo Show, Jackman Galleries
Group Show, Jackman Galleries
Urban Show, Jackman Galleries
Christmas Show, The Studio, Solo
Urban Show, Jackman Galleries, Group
Soho Galleries, Sydney. Group
Kentra, Sydney. Solo
Hester Gallery, Sydney. Solo
Hester Gallery, Sydney. Group
Strickland Gallery, Sydney. Solo
Strickland Gallery, Sydney. Group
Ochre Gallery, MELBOURNE. Group
Ochre Gallery, MELBOURNE. Solo
P.O.D. Gallery, Sydney. Group
The King's School Art Prize, Hung
Waverley Art Prize, Hung
Mosman Art Prize, Hung