Artist Spotlight Series: Evan Mooney
I am so excited to introduce you to the latest talent in my Artist Spotlight Series.
Her vibrant work speaks to me.
Each series seems to get better and better.
Enjoy getting to know
What is your training?
I graduated from The University of Virginia in 2006 with a BA in Art History. I took Studio Art and Architectural History courses as part of my degree and was particularly interested in art created in America in the mid to late 20th century.
Abstract expressionism, Hard-edge painting, Painterly abstraction, Post-painterly Abstraction, New York School, Washington Color School, Neo-Dada, Pop Art—these movements are among my favorites and have influenced my work the most.
What inspires you and your designs?
I would say that color is the most crucial element in my work. I keep a color journal with the intention of updating it weekly. Within its pages, I document all of the color palettes that inspire emotion in me. Josef Albers’ articulation rings so true for me— “Color, in my opinion, behaves like man in two distinct ways: first in self-realization and then in realization of relationships with others.” Color is everything, and one color cannot be considered in a vacuum. It must be thought of in the context of the palette as a whole.
What is your favorite piece?
When we moved to Charlottesville, I decided to commission myself to paint artwork to go over our mantle. One of my best friends from high school, Alex Stillwell (Stillwell Groves Interiors, @stillwellgrovesinteriors) and her business partner, Mary Groves, helped us decorate our living room. When the time came for me to get to work on the art, it was nice to have a reliable sounding board. I had just started having custom panels made for my “Arch Support” series and I knew I wanted to paint something on those. The inspiration struck when talking to a local friend who also happens to be an artist. Magnets, opposing forces, gradient color. When I finished painting them and stood back, I realized that I had painted portraits of my husband and me. He is the ying to my yang. We share a common core—our hopes, dreams, etc.—but we definitely have different strengths and weaknesses. This is the cause for many differences in opinion, but we both benefit by having the other as a teammate.
(I am the painting on the right; my husband is on the left.)
How has the your area influenced your work?
I conceived of my Arch Support series in early 2020 during the weeks in February when my husband and I finalized plans to move to Charlottesville, Virginia. At that moment in time, the “arch” was a means of transportation between people, communities, cultures. A bridge, a tunnel, a doorway, a rainbow, all were possibilities. Then, COVID struck and the world seemed to stop spinning, giving the arch’s meaning even more depth. I have three young children (eight, seven and four), and cabin fever set in pretty quickly. More abstract arches eventually turned into doorways, and these doorways are certainly influenced by the Palladian architecture of the University.
What is your favorite restaurant in Charlottesville?
What an impossible question… We are so spoiled in Charlottesville by an abundance of fabulous restaurants. Below are a few of my favorites!
For dinner … Tavola (Italian), Ten (Sushi), Mas (Spanish Tapas) For lunch … Feast! and Take it Away Sandwiches
What is your favorite cocktail?
Most things with Tequila… I love a delicious Paloma and spicy margarita! I also savor a smooth anejo tequila served neat for sipping.
How do you balance personal life and work?
Balance? Still working on that. I spend way too much time (if there is such a thing) in my studio. It is my happy place, and I have a hard time walking away from it. On the flip side, I am TERRIBLE at sitting down at my computer and responding to emails, etc. This school year, I have made a concerted effort to work when my kids are at school and be more fully present once they are at home. So far, that is going well, but I usually spend hours in the studio after they are tucked into bed. I go to bed way too late and get lectured regularly by my husband.
The specific answer to this question changes daily, but the general answer is ANYWHERE with my friends and family. I do love travel, but I love my people even more, and COVID has made seeing them in person and spending quality time together difficult, if not impossible. If I could go anywhere right now *with* my people, I think it would be to Paris and Provence. Friends and culture and wine. That sounds pretty perfect.
Creating art for the homes of other artists. I am so inspired by the creativity of others and am a firm believer in the idea that creativity begets creativity. I listen to music and audiobooks while painting (depending on the work), and I am so moved by the ideas, imagination and insight of others. The idea that my artwork might inspire other artists enough to hang on their walls would be such an honor.
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
I love gifting a bottle of my favorite tequila (123 Organic Anejo Tequila #3), particularly if I’ve thought ahead, I like to include a little something for the bar of my host/hostess.
These linen napkins are a favorite and are from a storefront in my hometown, Houston.
(Biscuit Home Marfa Cocktail Napkins)
Who is your style icon?
This is a tough one. I would say a cross between James Dean and Audrey Hepburn? Is that a thing?
My “uniform” is a white T and jeans, and I love a good leather jacket. I also favor cat-eye sunglasses, and almost anything with a scalloped edge.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
I love so many artists! To narrow things down, I will stick with a local favorite. VM Fisk creates amazing things. I love how her brain works and I love following along with her while she is realizing a new direction for her art. I also love that she works with so many different mediums and that she isn’t constrained by squared or rectangles. She is an “outside of the box” kind of person, which is my favorite kind of person. She is also a fantastic sounding board and offers up incredible insight when I’m feeling stuck in my own work.
What is your most treasured possession?
A piece of artwork by the photographer Geoff Winningham. It is of a Houston Rodeo Parade, and it makes me feel at home no matter what city I’m living in. It was a gift from my parents for my 30th birthday, and it has hung in every home my husband and I have shared. It has hung in our breakfast room, our entry hall, and it is currently hanging in our formal living room.
What are you reading?
I am a bookworm in an incredibly nerdy way, and I am proud of it. I find that reading is the best way to expand your capacity for empathy and understanding. It is also a great way to travel (in time and geographically). I love everything Ann Patchett has written, and I have recently joined her book store’s First Editions Club.
(Side note—if you haven’t read The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, you should do that immediately!)
I just received A Swim in a Pond in the Rain in Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders, and I’m about to start reading.
What are you listening to?
Taylor Swift. LOVE her. Through her lyrics, Taylor engages with her listeners and makes them feel seen, known, and even a part of the story she is telling. That is pure magic. That is the power of great art. You can be alone when experiencing it, but you don’t feel lonely.
What are your favorite blogs / publications?
As both my mother and my husband can attest, I am a hoarder of most things in print. Magazines and letters sit in tidy but towering piles on my desk. I am the same way when it comes to my inbox, so rather than subscribing to things, I like to follow designers/decorators, bloggers and magazines on Instagram. I also love following fashion labels because the colors palettes they put together are often so inspiring. Among my favorite feeds are: Kit Kemp, Katie Ridder, Miles Redd, The Met Costume Institute, Designers Guild, Tomo Koizumi, Maison Valentino, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit
Please feel free to suggest any artists I should seek out.
You might have already put her in the spotlight, but I LOVE Kiki Slaughter. She was a year above me at UVA and we were both Kappas. Her artwork is amazing and makes me so happy. She is definitely beyond “up and coming” but I thought I should still mention her!
I featured her HERE.
Also, Laurie Fisher! I love her use of color and she is just fantastic!
I featured her HERE.
I am utterly OBSESSED with this new series!
Take a look at Evan’s portfolio and follow her on her website and Instagram.
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