CAUTION: Artist At Work | A conversation with Detour

CAUTION: Artist At Work | A conversation with Detour

Written by Kristopher Wright | info@odessadenver.com  

08.15.2017

(Denver CO)

Thomas 'Detour' Evans' latest exhibition 'Between The Hues' re-examines the relationship between shape, color, space, and sound. Breaking with traditional forms of art making and art viewing, Detour re-routes viewers by creating immersive paintings and sculptures which respond to touch, collapse & expand planes of color, and challenge the boundaries of the exhibition space itself. To the typical art patron, the effect may be every bit as jarring as it is refreshing. The standard 'look but don't touch', atmosphere has been thrown out the window, so check your expectations at the door and jump in!


left of off-Kilter

left of off-Kilter

 
Moonshine for lovers

Moonshine for lovers

How did you get started/introduced into the arts?

Well, I got started as a kid. My dad was military so we moved around alot. Wherever we moved, I had to make new friends and art was that connecting factor in any place we moved. So art became sort of necessary and essential in my life, but I really just kept drawing and painting throughout the years and eventually once I hit college it took a whole new level... mainly because I was doing it for money on the side. I would do different shows and airbrush t-shirts... things like that. So it kind of went into overdrive and I got a lot better! And then in 2014, that's when I started [making art] full time.

Why do you create the artwork that you do?

The artwork that I create is just a reflection on where I am in terms of life and exploring the art world for myself; Exploring colors, exploring shapes exploring different mediums, different scales. Basically, I create work that reflects where I am in terms of my own exploration and in terms of just the art world. So you can see with my current work, I’m using cardboard and crafting my own frames... In terms of the murals, I’m learning more about street art and public art. Through creating murals large and small I’m just exploring spray paint, latex paint and different processes and techniques.

 

 
Viewers interact with colored blocks to create sound

Viewers interact with colored blocks to create sound

 
Between the Hues

Between the Hues

What do you do to get over your creative blocks?

I usually have to take a break for a little bit and try something totally new! It doesn't even have to be art-related. I could be taking a break to do some videography or some photography for a while, or even just do some research and try to take it easy. Sometimes my least desired work is done when I'm feeling pressured or if I'm overworking myself, so usually, I just have to take a break to get over those blocks.

What advice do you have for others that want to head into this industry?

Find something that's unique to you, something that has your style your voice, because trying to do art full time is a hustle. You're unstable all the time, and you don't know what the next day's going to look like... it's a lot about knowing yourself and what you want out of life and knowing what you want out of your art career... But after that, really it's all about improving your practice, developing yourself, and putting yourself in different positions that will open up opportunities, networking, and things like that. So really, you just have to be prepared!

One thing I would definitely suggest is to find a mentor or someone you can talk to and shoot ideas off of, and discuss some of the decisions that you're making in your career. That's the biggest advice that I have for someone wanting to become a full-time artist into the industry.

Thomas 'Detour' Evans converses with guests during the opening reception Between the Hues 

Thomas 'Detour' Evans converses with guests during the opening reception Between the Hues 

What is a typical workday like for you?

Ode to Gravity

Ode to Gravity

A typical day for me is really just waking up early, heading to the studio around 5 in the morning, smashing out emails, marketing, doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff before you know the the day begins for everyone else. From there, it’s about figuring out what projects that I have on deck, and managing future projects. I'd say 20% of the day is spent painting and creating artwork. sometimes that’s because there's just so many other tasks that have to get done... All the Home Depot runs and paint runs, delivering pieces, packaging pieces, curating some shows and things like that.

But you never really know what each day is going to look like because it's always different! I had to clean up a tag on one of my murals that someone told me about the other day, so that threw out my schedule for the day and I spent the first three hours buying paint to clean it up. So you never know what a typical day looks like but the biggest thing for me is getting up early to get a good start and making sure everything is done that day before I head back home.  

‘Between the Hues’ seems to be somewhat of a departure from your previous work. What’s most exciting about this body of work for you? What’s been the most challenging?

Between the Hues is definitely a departure from where I was in the work that I previously was doing. Most of it was 2D work on canvas with stretcher bars that I built myself. A lot of that stuff was ‘pop’ and made specifically for selling. But this current work was more of exploration of different materials and processes; figuring out how to build a frame and cut glass while also experimenting with how to display work using the background or a wall that I painted in order to incorporate it into the work as well. A lot of that is is new for me! It's definitely exciting with the figurative stuff...to make cuts in different ways where the individual is kept anonymous and a little more abstract. There were different feelings in different pieces, so it wasn't as loaded with the preconceived notions…

The most challenging part was putting out fires and trying to troubleshoot how to put an entirely new show together and what that could of look like. Because it was so different than what I was doing before, It was the art community, RedLine, and the kids from Art Street, and some of the RedLine volunteers, that helped make the show what it is!

Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond

 Why was it important to keep the subjects anonymous?

It was important for me to keep the subjects anonymous mainly because I didn’t want to load it with some built-in idea or have viewers already judge the subject or have a certain perception of the subject before they really get to explore the piece. So, for me, cutting the the portraits in that way kept it anonymous but also had this beautiful aesthetic in how the curves worked with the nose and the cheeks and the rounding of the ears and everything. You couldn't really tell a lot about the subject, so it opened it up to your imagination!

Do you think differently about your work in regards to scale? 

I do view work differently in regards to scale, mainly because of the process... Being a full-time artist, I often have to work faster than I want to, so the process is really important in how I execute a piece while ensuring that I'm efficient and effective with my materials while not wasting anything. The scale really determines the process and can influence the overall composition. Sometimes, the number of colors I use is affected by scale too. Especially whenever I do street art because you never know you might have to go back clean something up.

You’re quite active online with #ArtTipTuesdays and progress pictures of your recent murals and artwork. What’s the most challenging part about being a visual artist in the age of social media?

I’m definitely active on social media, mainly because it's a large part of my income and how I get exposure while being an independent artist. A lot of my marketing relies on what I do every day, so social media definitely helps out. Being unique is really important, especially because there are so many artists out there to look at, follow, and check out. My #ArtTipTuesdays and my progress pictures are a way of me being unique because people are able to engage in the process of how I create work. A lot of artists sometimes hide that process fear of people mimicking it or whatever, but for me, I like showing that part of it because it's more personal, people really get into it and appreciate getting advice that they can apply to their own art practice!

What are you most excited about for the coming year?

I'm most excited about the mural work and street art this upcoming year as well as improving my interactive work in order to bring more surprises and different elements to an art show!

Bonus Question: What's your favorite wall piece you've ever done?

A lot of times, my favorite art piece is the last one I did! So this time I'd say my largest wall piece to date, on the Tuff Shed wall on I-70, is one of my favorites because it was a challenge for me and it was definitely something that pushed me in terms of street art and the mural game.

*Between the Hues will be on view at The Temple through September 1, 2017. Detour is currently living and working in Denver, Colorado. You can find him painting in his studio at RedLine Contemporary Art Center.


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