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”.