Interview with Evoca1 for ‘Sanctuary’ | July 17 – August 7 at Thinkspace Projects

Thinkspace Projects is thrilled to present Evoca1’s debut west coast solo show, ‘Sanctuary.

The exhibition marks a series that embodies Evoca1’s agenda to merge art and humanity into a single creation. With photorealistic works that have a delicate quality, he effortlessly conveys the nuances of human life, creating scenes of human life and emotion.

In anticipation of ‘Sanctuary,” our interview with Evoca1 discusses the inspiration behind the show, how he taps into creative flow, and where to grab lunch in Wynwood.

For those unfamiliar with your work, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be familiar with Thinkspace?

I am a Dominican artist/muralist based out of South Florida. I am a figurative painter working mostly with oil indoors, and acrylic paint outdoors.  I’ve always had a love for creating. Growing up in the Dominican Republic on dirt roads, I was the neighborhood artist getting paid pesos for Batman commissions. I played baseball for most of my life and gave up the bat for a brush when I hurt my shoulder. I’ve been lucky enough to paint all over the world, and meet a lot of great people. I paint to express my thoughts and explore the world’s challenges. I met Andrew while I was painting a mural during PowWow Hawaii.  I participated in a group show and I’ve been happy to work with him on many projects since then.

What was the inspiration behind ‘Sanctuary’ and this latest body of work?

The initial concept for the show came up a few years back, after a conversation I had with my son who was 4 years old at the time.

After spending most of the time silent during dinner, he said to me “my friend is black”. He’d been friends with him since they were 2 years old and had never acknowledged his skin color. At first, we were furious and asked him who told him his friend was black and he replied “In school”. I always wondered at what age people start noticing skin color and the different ways it’s introduced.

From there I started thinking about how the world would be if the pandemic had wipeout all the adults and kids were left to inherit the earth.

So I imagined it would be a place where they wouldn’t be judged based on the color of your skin, social status, or religious belief.

So I thought it would be a great starting point for an exhibition.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part of creating a mural? What is your most favorite and least favorite part of working in the studio?

My least favorite part of painting a mural is the prep work that goes on before I can actually start painting.  It could be from getting a concept approved to buffing the wall.

Once that process is done, then we can actually get into the paint, which is the best part. Seeing how the wall comes together and interacting with people in the street during the process is what makes it all worth it. In the studio, it’s pretty much the same. I really enjoy the creative process, but I struggle having to be indoors, confined to a space for long hours.

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow before getting to work?

Definitely, coffee and music, I found that I do best while spending long hours in solitude.

What were you listening to in the background while developing this exhibition?

It was a mix of a bunch of artists, but mainly Michael Kiwanuka, Woodkid, and some Fela Kuti on the days I wanted to pull a long night.

Have you had any mentors over the course of your artistic evolution? Who would you consider a mentor, and what did you learn from them?

I didn’t really have any mentors, most of my art knowledge has come from a lot of self-exploration. I’ve learned a lot from just studying masterworks and reading books.

I’ve been a huge fan of David Leffel, an American master painter, who has a huge library of demos and talks online. So I’ve studied a lot of his work and based my painting pallet on the one he uses.

What is one our your proudest accomplishments or something you’ve had the opportunity to experience because of your artwork that has really stuck with you?

Being able to put together a few art festivals back in the Dominican Republic has been my proudest moments. I’ve had the opportunity to host a lot of great artists from around the world and introduce the country to so many great works. In those early days, murals and street art weren’t being celebrated as in other countries, so being able to give that to those small towns we visited was really fulfilling.

If you were taking an art friend around Miami/South Florida for a day, what would you do/show them, and where would you go to eat? ALSO – Same question, but for back home in the Dominican Republic…?

In Miami would have to take them to Wynwood. I think Wynwood is one of those places you have to visit at least once. Then grab lunch and coffee at El Bajareque, a small Puerto Rican restaurant in the outskirts of Wynwood, they make a mean pan can bistec.

Río San Juan is a small beach town in the Dominican Republic, where my dad is from and we spent a lot of our childhood. This is the town where we started our Artesano mural project back in 2014. We’ll spend the day eating seafood and having a beer from a small shop on the beach sand. That’s a whole day event in itself.

What is on your mural location bucket list?

Don’t really have a bucket list mural, but would like to visit more Asian countries. I missed the chance to visit before due to conflicting schedules but looking forward to the experience.

Do you remember the first mural that you created? What did you paint, and where was the piece located?

The first large-scale mural I painted was “Running with Wolves” back in 2012. It was a 2 story high wall in Wynwood, depicting a man running from wolves while carrying a lamb. It was my first time painting anything on that scale, so it took me forever.

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