I first met Evan when I moved to San Francisco's Mission district from New York City in 2001. Evan, whose work I was not only familiar with but also loved, welcomed me to his home where I got to know him, his family and his studio. I ended up photographing him shortly before he and his wife Shawn moved to Denver Colorado in 2003.
Several years had passed until I took a trip out in both 2009 and 2011 to spend some extended time with Evan and his family, photographing him working in his studio, his home and throughout Denver. I have always loved being a bit of a fly on the wall watching him so methodically make art. There's are real sense of technique and pride in everything he does. These photographs represent my most recent trip to Denver, in Autumn of 2011, where I was fortunate enough to stay in their new guest home on their property, which shares a wall with his studio. It's lovely. I hope you enjoy these photographs of Evan and his world. -Andrew Paynter
The show in London started with a trip there in June when I wandered all over the city for several days just making observations, shooting photos and trying to get a feel for London. When I make a body of work about a specific place it's important to be there myself, not only to take photos but just to have the experience of what it's like there, the overall feeling of a place. For the rest of the summer and fall I worked on about twenty new pieces based on my trip. The work ranges from pieces that are nearly photorealistic, to other pieces that are a combination of abstract, geometric forms combined with people and elements pulled from the urban environment.
I wanted to avoid showing the most typical, tourist attractions of course. I found myself drawn to the more traditionally working class parts of east and south London that have remnants of post-war industrial buildings, factories, canals, old pubs and such.
I travel out of the country about two or three times a year, and domestically a few times a year. I have a family so I can't be traveling all the time, but I do get out and see a lot of the world. Since I live in Colorado I think it's good for me to travel frequently, I like living in a quiet, easy place but I like to experience things and get inspired. London is pretty fascinating. I love traveling in any really old city. The sense of history, traversing streets where people have been for centuries. In London there is the feeling of all the difficulties that city has had to endure over time and yet it's still there, stronger than ever, it feels important and weighty.
I always love how New York looks, just driving in from the airport it just looks as serious as it is, all dark and dense and tough. The Village especially is just one of the most beautiful urban places there is. I love how Hong Kong looks with all the crazy narrow streets running up really steep hills. Paris definitely lives up to it's reputation for charm, although I find it a little less appealing for my own work because it's almost too pretty.
In fact, when I return to visit now I think I miss the look of it more than any other aspect, with the hills and the fog boiling over twin peaks, the electric cable lines running over the streets. Los Angeles has the aesthetic of some sort of half-ruined paradise but if you can tune into that notion it has an eery sort of beauty about it, all backlight with that hazy sunlight. Sydney is nice too, it's like an odd combination of San Francisco, San Diego and New Orleans. Tokyo at night makes you feel like you're in Blade Runner.
Always a few skateboard graphics for Chocolate. I'm preparing to go to Sydney next month for a mural project in conduction with Monster Children. Some various hand-drawn logos and small illustration projects. I'm speaking at a design conference called Offset in Dublin in March.
Oh yea, I like that flag graphic, I had that case on my own phone for a while. I had fun working on that.
I do, I wouldn't say that Denver is my focus really, but there are a lot of good things going on here. I especially like David Smith Gallery and Black Book Gallery, they always have good shows. I'll be showing with Jim Houser and Shepard Fairey here in August at Black Book.
The Musuem of Contemporary Art here is a really great small museum, they always have something good showing and it's a lively atmosphere especially on Friday nights when they stay open late. I've shown at the Aspen Art Museum before, that's another really nice small museum here. The Denver Art Museum has a huge and impressive show of Robert Adams photography right now.
Take my daughter to school, get some coffee. My studio is behind my house, so I just take a few steps out the back door to go to work. I don't have any set routine, it just sort of depends on what I have going. On a good day I would just immediately sit down at my work table and start drawing and painting. On a bad day I would be stressed about deadlines for projects.
I like to work pretty normal hours when I can, I usually stop with creative work by 6:30 or 7, just hang out with the family and cook dinner after that. I do my best work in the morning hours when I'm rested and have some coffee going, I try to reserve that time of day for being creative. E-mails and other business type work I can usually do later in the day when I've burned out.
A dusty record collection in my studio, and classical radio when I'm too lazy to change records. Lately... Panda Bear, Iron and Wine, Beirut, Neil Young, the Kinks.
Not much, especially in December. I get out to the Denver skate park a few times in the summer. I just got a Solitary Arts little cruiser board that I'm excited to ride around on this spring. A lot of making skateboard graphics, not so much actual skateboarding, I'm afraid.
Here, Denver, a small town nearby is actually where I grew up. My parents bought an old, stone church and converted it into a house in the late 60's, that where I was raised. It was all very Colorado and hippy in retrospect, my parents friends were artists and potters, they had parties with bluegrass musicians and dirty kids running around. I hated all that when I was a teenager, I just wanted to be in California and skate everyday. Eventually I came back here from San Francisco to be closer to my Dad and so we could afford to buy a house and have some space. Denver is just nice too, I like it here, very easy living. I appreciate Colorado now that I'm older and have a family of my own.
I used to be in charge of the whole line pretty much, all the boards, t-shirts, ads, everything. It got to be too much and didn't leave enough time for other things, so I back away from that commitment and now I just do a few things for them on a freelance basis, maybe 15 or so board graphics each season. The people at Girl/Chocolate are all great, like good friends to me so I'll always try to help them if they need me and I enjoy doing skateboards.
I had been living in San Francisco and doing some work in the snowboard industry. Andy Jenkins and Rick Howard had seen some of my stuff via snowboard magazines and contacted me to see if I'd be interested in doing skateboard graphics. I've always been more interested in skateboarding than snowboarding really, so I was excited at the opportunity. I'm very adaptable with my style of illustration, I can take on most any idea and translate it into a skateboard graphic or a series, so I think it's worked out well for me to do so many boards for them over the years.
Evan Hecox and photographer Andrew Paynter
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