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Departures, 2016, Oil on canvas, 62 x 84 inches, 157.5 x 213.4 cm

“Eveleth’s paintings restlessly shift across a spectrum of meanings, covering along the way all the distances between opposing significances; prosaic and profound, profane and sacred, banal and intriguing, to say nothing of the axis between cool asexuality and gushing, if veiled, sexuality.”


1. How do you get in the right mindset to make your work? Do you have a particular strategy?

My guilty pleasure is reading lists of rules written by artists; from the well known, Richard Diebenkorn’s or Sister Corita Kent’s Rules for students, made famous by John Cage’s adaptation - in Kent’s list my favorite is rule number is four; “consider everything an experiment” - to the one by Johnny Cash, whose daily to-do list includes both “kiss June” and “don’t kiss anyone else” and ends with do “not write notes.” The recent stunner for me is writer Henry Miller’s list of 11 commandments. The third one is the one I use in the studio daily. “Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on what is ever at hand”. What a trifecta. Calmly. Joyously. Recklessly.

2. If you could hang your work next to any other artist’s work (past or present) whose work would it be? What piece in particular?

I am completely seduced by the work of Kathy Butterly. The presence of her ceramic sculptures defy their size. Each is its own lush universe, filled with personality, eccentricities, pathos, exquisite color, sexiness, awkwardness and humor. Could you ask for anything more?

3. How have you set up your work space? What in particular about your setup facilitates the way you work?

The first things that come to mind;

Everything that can go on casters, is on casters.

There’s a viewing wall, visible immediately upon opening the studio door, where I hang what’s currently in progress. It gives me that first, immediate, pre-verbal impression of the work. It’s like seeing it with new eyes. Then I can let the painting tell me what it needs.

I have a strict palette practice of always putting out all the colors each time and always in the same order. It can sound crazy to some, but that way reaching for a color becomes automatic, nearly unconscious, so that when, all of sudden I think, a tinge of quinacridone violet is what’s needed, there it is on the palette ready to go.

I love the paradox that the more disciplined I am in setting up the physical habits, the more free and un-restrained I can be in the actual painting. My goal is have the shortest time span between ‘painting thought’ and ‘painting action’.

And yet I completely agree with writer Zadie Smith’s advice. Never fetishize your work space. It’s not a temple or a retreat, it’s where you work. I heard her once describe her writing space; a plain room where her computer is against a white wall, a simple desk. But she did confess to one specific indulgence. She always writes in Garamond. A woman after my own heart. Everything looks better in Garamond.

4. Do you collaborate with other artists often? If so, how do you go about doing this?

I love this question because recently three artists and I have started to get together monthly and as it’s coalescing we’re thinking of it more and more as a collective. What happens from here is very much in progress. It began with a heady volley of emails spurred by a photo taken at the local carnival. Who knows where this all will lead but I’m completely jazzed to be building this experiment as we go along. Stay tuned.

5. A question of my own making:

To whom would I give the last word?

Ken Price, who reminds us where the real work lies when he states “Nothing I can say is going to improve how it looks.”

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