New York–based multimedia artist Franklin Evans creates immersive paintings and installations that are often composed of brightly colored geometric shapes. “I make [art] out of all these things I love,” Evans told Brooke Jaffe in a recent interview for “ARTnews Live,” our ongoing IGTV series featuring interviews with a range of creatives.
Evans came to art making toward the end of college. Growing up in Reno, he said, art “wasn’t part of my life growing up. Sports was culture. I loved playing golf.” But once he took a studio art class during his junior year at Stanford University Evans became engrossed in art-making: “I was just hooked.” His semester studying abroad in London also proved influential. “I met all these creatives and, I think, the not-so-out gay boy in me also felt like this was my tribe,” he said.
In creating his art, Evans said he likes to use bright, primary colors to evoke a feeling of joy. Though Evans’s canvases are bursting with a chaotic energy, he said that his artistic process involves meticulous organization, including numerous spreadsheets to analyze both his life and art. He also builds up a set of “accumulated images [that] get mapped onto the canvas that I paint,” he said. He pointed out a wall in his studio that is akin to “a living document” of sketches of larger works and installations from the past 23 years.
When Evans first moved to New York in the 1990s, he had limited studio space and focused mostly on creating watercolors and drawings, as opposed to the large-scale paintings he is best known for now. For a recent series, he has revisited working on this intimate scale, drawing from an amassed personal archive of digital images. He also looks to other artists from across art history for inspiration, from Titian to Henri Matisse to Dana Schutz.
Evans will be the subject of a solo show “fugitivemisreadings,” at Miles McEnery Gallery in New York that runs from June 24 through July 30. The exhibition is among Art in America’s must-see shows this season. His solo exhibition is accompanied by a group show, titled “You Again,” which Evans curated.