From growing up in rural Idaho to making his way to the Big Apple, Evan Paul English has made his mark flawlessly and naturally. Gathering inspiration from objects found in the city streets and thrift and vintage stores, Evan creates full-scale artworks that intertwine the relationships “between gender, class, sexuality and the psychological effects of growing up queer in middle-America.” This month, you can see Evan’s pieces on display at the Fridman Gallery’s “Alternating Currents” exhibit located in New York City and he will be launching his new collaboration with sustainable textile brand Western Sensibility! Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Evan Paul English.
This month, you can view Evan’s pieces for the “Alternating Currents” exhibit curated by Niama Safia Sandy. This exhibit will be taking place at the Fridman gallery and will be featuring 12 other artists.
Andrew Joseph: What is the last book you read?
Evan Paul English: I am currently reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It has completely changed the way I relate to the natural world. The author does a beautiful job of incorporating Indigenous wisdom with science and teachings of plants. I feel so much more aware of the gifts the earth bestows upon us since reading. Now when I cut flowers from my garden I say thank you to them for their beauty and the joy they give me. That ounce of gratitude goes so far in life.
Andrew: If you could guest star on any TV show – on or off-air – what show would you guest star in?
Evan: At Home With Amy Sedaris. She is hysterical! I’ve always loved everything she creates – her books, television, and comedy are right up my alley. She has eccentric guests on her show with distinct and memorable personalities. Watching that show is like going to a strange and chaotic house party where you learn something useless. I especially love the crafting segments where things go wrong but she’s keeping it together with a smile. Relatable.
You can find works like Viewfound (Distortion1)” Acrylic on canvas featured in the “Alternating Currents” exhibition at the Fridman Gallery. This large piece immediately lightens up any space and radiates positivity and fluidness.
Andrew: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Evan: I was a cheerleader in high school and college. For a while after, I did choreography for local cheer teams and considered that as a possible career. Cheerleading was my life. The athleticism and sport of cheerleading is so impressive, but I was never into being on the sidelines. To this day I still don’t understand football, nor wish to. Some cheerleader I was, I’d just start cheering and do a backflip when the crowd started cheering. YAY! 5-6-7-8….
Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Evan: I absolutely love to cook, but even better, bake. Not to brag but I’m known for my pies. A few years ago I did an artist residency in upstate New York, and the fellow residents I shared a house with called me the baker-in-residence because I tried a new pie recipe every week. Now I can make a pie crust from memory which would make my grandmother proud. My favorite pie right now is strawberry rhubarb with a butter crust.
Andrew: What are three things you can’t live without?
- My puppy Wyeth, he’s got a goofy smile and brings me all the joy. I love our morning routine taking him for a walk. It forces me to slow down before rushing out the door.
- My glasses.
- My inhaler (darn allergies).
As described by the Fridman Gallery, Evan Paul English’s work is “energetic and sprawling.” He tells a story of gender, class, sexuality and allows observers to extract and reconsider the boundaries between object, space, and themselves.
Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Evan: I made a coat out of a wool blanket from a thrift store a few years ago. It is perfect in the winter, so cozy and luxurious. Every time I put it on it just feels right. It is one of the few items of clothing I own that I feel truly represents me. It is a pure expression of me and my art. Literally, when I wear it I get so many compliments, how could I not love it?
Andrew: What’s your biggest fear in life?
Evan: My biggest fear would be if I were unable to connect or communicate with other people. I think that’s why I’m an artist. Art is so important for us to communicate things we can’t necessarily put into words. My art is how I choose to communicate.
As a multi-disciplinary artist, working in many mediums is imperative to foster different aspects of my growth. I never want to put myself into a box, like being only a painter or a tattoo artist or a textile designer, because I like challenging my creativity. First and foremost, I am an artist, and I’m all about leaning into my curiosity and doing whatever tickles my fancy at the moment.
Photography by Noah Fecks.
About The Maker | Evan Paul English (he/him) is an interdisciplinary artist currently working and residing in Brooklyn, New York. He was born and raised in rural Idaho and his childhood informs his work. A main component of his practice is collecting objects from the streets, vintage stores and thrift stores that resonate with his past. Using those objects as materials to create sculptures, fiber pieces, and as visual language in his paintings, his work explores the relationships between gender, class, sexuality and the psychological effects of growing up queer in middle-America. He is interested in the ways in which culture shapes our self-understanding through materials and objects, and often utilizes decorative motifs to subvert stereotypes and ask deeper questions about our own gender narratives. His work exists within liminal space where things come together that are diametrically opposed, exemplary of the queer experience.
His interest in identity and self-reclamation has gone on to inspire his work as a tattoo artist, working primarily with the queer community in Brooklyn. He co-owns Yarrow Studio, a private tattoo studio located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. His recent tattoo work involves reimagining American vintage floral designs into tattoos. Through this act, the queer body is transformed and becomes a home for these otherwise conservative motifs, a symbol of reclaiming the body, as well as reclaiming histories of oppression. The metaphor of our bodies as our homes is a continual theme in his work, explored through various mediums.
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