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Interview: Jacob Eveland
An Artist Chasing Chaos
You may have seen Jacob Eveland's work before, either here on Quail Bell or at exhibitions featuring Richmond, Virginia's rising artists. Having spent his childhood in the country, Eveland draws inspiration from nature, animals and history. We caught up with Jacob to ask about his new solo show, "Chasing Chaos," which will open at New Normal Apparel on April 4th and will include a gallery show, apparel designs for sale and a live painting session by the artist.
Your show is called "Chasing Chaos." What is the idea behind this?
In addition to my signature illustration work, I've created over 60 small pieces for this show. I experimented with them to learn how mixed mediums play off one another. It's a series of numerous varied pieces moving in one direction. This group of works is related to a graphic novel I am working on, sort of a sub-story. Can't give all my secrets away...I will reveal more about my graphic novel at the show.
Your work tends to feature animals and inspirations from nature, which you've said stems from your childhood life in the country. Has living in a city affected your work or changed your inspirational process?
I don't feel living in Richmond has changed my inspiration. I love living in the city and appreciate the culture and diversity it offers. To me, Richmond has a small town feel similar to the town I moved from. Like Lebanon [Virginia], it's surrounded by inviting natural settings, is rich in history and touts beautiful architecture. I spend a lot of time hiking in the surrounding parks, and exploring along the James River.
Will we see your pen and ink illustration style in this show or have you been experimenting with any new mediums?
I will have pen and ink illustrations in this show, but I have been experimenting more with different mediums. These variations are apparent in the 60 pieces some I did for this show.
What is the process of preparing to do a live painting?
I start with a rough sketch to develop my composition. Secondly I refine my sketch and build a panel large enough to accommodate it. Prior to painting at a show, I complete the outline in pencil. I make sure I've packed the necessary equipment: drop cloth, paint brushes, paint buckets, rags, water to ensure I don't have any glitches once I've started. I'll be replicating my black and white ink work via my live painting.
Do you think creating pieces in front of a live audience changes the relationship of the artist and the spectator?
I have only painted in front of an audience once at a gallery show, and while painting public murals. It's similar to an art demo. I've done them for high school and VCU students. Observers are always unsure if it's okay to talk to me while I'm working. I really enjoy talking with the spectators, and assure them that they won't disrupt me if they ask questions or make comments. I like the rapport between artist, created work, and observer. It gives the work meaning and helps bring it to life for people who don't create art. It gives them a better understanding of the process.
It can be a little awkward at times when your back is to the observer and you're communicating without looking at them. I like to be fully engaged when talking to people, so I try to spend time with them face to face, too. I enjoy connecting with the spectators at a show; it's energizing to explain my work and share in their reaction to and feedback about it. For this show, I plan on spending quite a bit of time talking to my guests, and will focus on painting when traffic slows. Sometimes you just need to read the crowd to figure out what makes sense: communicating about art or creating it.
"Chasing Chaos" opens on Friday, April 4th at New Normal Apparel (212 E. Clay St. Richmond, Virginia). See more of Jacob's work here.
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