On the cover: Mass Movement by Evan Hecox
How was Mass Movement created?
That image is from Chinatown in New York. It was a hot summer day and I came upon an especially busy intersection that really seemed alive with action. It was a moment that I’ve had many times in New York where I feel aware of the energy and movement swirling all around. I try to keep memories like that in my mind when I return to my studio to start drawing and painting. I used a photograph from that day as a visual reference but I really tried to remember the feeling of standing in that spot. The scene was constantly changing so I tried to capture a bit of that in the piece.
Your work has been described as finding the vibrant in the mundane – is that fair?
Yes, that’s fair. My work has always dealt with the idea that there is beauty or interest to be found in seemingly ugly, everyday objects and environments. It’s not always easy to convey how I’m seeing things, but I’ve had people tell me that my work has caused them to look at things differently when they walk around a city, which is a nice compliment.
How do you go about creating your work?
I started out by just bringing a sketchbook out into the street and finding a place to sit, but people did start to kind of make me crazy. The vast majority of people just pass by and don’t care at all, then there are the ones who get strangely angry and say things like “why the hell would you want to draw that?” Some people believe that if you’re drawing in public you want the attention, like a guy making balloon animals for kids or something, so they think they have the right, but I’ve never been that good at having an audience. Once I decided to stop drawing on urban streets I got an old Polaroid Land camera from a thrift store and would take that out and shoot photos for reference. When I got back to the studio I would use the photos for reference and could take my time and relax making the artwork, which is pretty much my method of working to this day.
What news story from this quarter got your attention?
The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage felt the most relevant to my own life or at least my own society. It’s just a fundamental human rights issue and gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t be treated as secondary, which is basically what the court maintained. I lived in San Francisco through the 1990s and being in that environment pretty much settled my feelings on gay rights, but it seems like it’s taken so long for most part of the country to really accept homosexuality and not feel threatened by it.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on pieces for a show in early October in Amsterdam at Andenken / Battalion. It’s a relatively small show but I’m really looking forward to showing my work there. After that I’m taking part in an ongoing project in the Netherlands called The Jaunt (thejaunt.net) which sends artists to explore new places, have an experience and take photos, keep a sketchbook and then produce an edition of prints. That will take about eight days and I’ll be in Amsterdam and Utrecht and possibly some other small towns.
In a way it’s pretty similar to what I do already, so it’s a natural fit.
Evan Hecox’s show at Andenken / Battalion, Amsterdam (battalionville.com), runs from 8th-24th October. Hecox is represented by the Joshua Liner Gallery.
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