Many artists do not succeed the first time they approach the art world. However, if they have the same drive as Cynthia Evans, they will keep trying until they finally reach their desired success.
Evans, a mixed-media painter, was born in White Plains, New York. She received her Masters of Fine Arts degree at Claremont Graduate School and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of La Verne in California.
Evan’s pieces also include elements of collage. “This way of working – cutting out images and moving them around – has always captivated me,” she noted. “It allows for a very exploratory process in which the images form by unanticipated discoveries. Once the subject emerges, it can be refined into a highly detailed, articulate representation with paint.”
Some of the content of Evan’s paintings are personal issues that she is confronted with in her everyday life. “Making the paintings provides me with an arena to discover and work out issues of concern,” she said. “Ultimately, when the viewer experiences the images they make their own discoveries and find their own meanings.”
Today, she lives in Bixby Knolls and paints for Shanghai Disney for Walt Disney Imagineering, the designers of Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide. Currently, her art is also being displayed at Koplin del Rio art gallery.
How did you become interested in art?
Oh, I remember painting like in second grade– doing a painting of the Bronx River in New York, and I don’t know…I just always wanted to be an artist.
When did you start taking professional classes?
Well, I had a really good teacher in high school… and he was really, really encouraging to me. He told me to be an artist… and to pursue it. So, right from high school, I went to the Art Institute of Boston, and I only lasted there about six months because all of a sudden, I realized that there was a lot of stuff I didn’t know. I was used to being the best artist in the class or the group, and then I went to art school, and it [was] like, wow, there [were] a lot of people that [were] better than me. So, I first dropped out for a couple years, and I worked at jobs. Then I decided to go back to it. I went to a number of different colleges– mostly Claremont colleges. I started in 1970– going to school. I ended up graduating from graduate school in 1982 at Claremont Graduate University.
Do you ever work outside of your studio?
Irregularly, a friend has workshops, and we paint from the models– like nude models. And I have a whole bunch of those paintings. And it’s really fun. We just paint all day and eat snacks and paint some more. Right now, I’m working. I just got a job a week and a half ago– a full-time job. I haven’t worked at a full-time job in like five years. I’m working for Walt Disney Imagineering. I’m painting for Shanghai Disney. I’m actually getting paid to paint. It’s a really good job.
What are your inspirations?
My inspirations are just my life. The people around me… and the environment– that’s an inspiration to me too. I like doing paintings like that. Oh, Frida Kahlo (Spanish surrealist). Oh, I like Gonzalo Cianfuegos (Chilean visual artist). And, I’ve been looking at Pompeii (ancient Roman mural painting). I love the backgrounds where the paint is all falling off.
Do you have any favorite pieces?
Yeah, I prefer some over others. I don’t really have them up in my house or anything. There is one painting I have up because it’s a really personal one I have about my family. I really like that one. I don’t get really attached. I’m not one of those people that are sad to see them go. I like it when people buy my work. It makes me feel like I’ve touched them or I’ve made a difference in some way.
What is meaningful about the painting you made that is held in your house?
It was done from a photograph. It’s not like my other works. The photograph shows my uncle, my aunt and me, as a little girl, and my grandmother all sitting on the beach. We used to go to this beautiful place in Long Island when I was a kid. Everyone is on the beach, but everyone is looking a different way. I’m looking out towards the water, and my aunt is sleeping with her head facing away from me. My grandmother is looking a different way, and my uncle is looking a different way. It’s like everyone is in their own world, but we’re still together. I did the piece as collaboration with a writer. He had written a story [and was working on] finding an old faded photograph about what it meant to him. It was so similar. When I read his story, I just thought about that photo. In his story, it was about how everyone was in their own world. So, I made that painting from that.
Do you have any other hobbies?
I like walking my dog, riding my bike, just reading and listening to music.
What are you currently working on?
I have like three paintings that I’m working on called Match Dot. I’m hoping to get those done once I get used to this job. Maybe I could come home and work in my studio after being at work. I hadn’t painted for a while. I [kind of had] painters block for a few years. [I’ve] just finally started getting back into it in [the] last year or so. And then, of course, I have this job. We will just see how much energy I have.