Going Skinny Dipping with Jillian Evelyn January 21 2020
Jillian Evelyn is an artist originally from Michigan and now living in Los Angeles. Evelyn's paintings investigate the depths of awkwardness, discomfort, and contortion both from external expectations and within ones' own thoughts. Evelyn paints her figures and abstractions bathed in vibrant color. Evelyn is able to reflect her personal conflicts while allowing for the viewer's personal interpretations.
We spoke with Jillian about feeling more free and vulnerable, colour pairings and favourite podcasts to listen to while painting.
Interview by Louise McIntosh. Photos supplied by Jillian Evelyn.
You initially remarked that your paintings are about bending and folding to conform to a space, both physical and metaphysical. How has this approach differed in your new body of works, which seem to be freer in their sense of space, where the females lean and curve? (It seems there is a whole lotta more curves, and they seem more relaxed – or is that just me?)
It’s not just you. Skinny Dippers came from a place of longing and escapism. This series is a response to my previous work and finally giving myself permission to do just the opposite. The figures are unapologetic as they take up more space and let go.
Tell us a little more behind the title Skinny Dippers. Are you living vicariously through the figures in your paintings?
It’s not so much the act of skinny dipping but how it feels physically. It’s this exhilarating mix of freedom and vulnerability – it’s a place I want to be.
You have an innate sense for colour pairings. Was there any inspiration behind the colour palette for Skinny Dippers?
One of my favorite things about painting is picking out the color palette. Choosing color palettes has always been one of my favorite parts of the process. I wanted a palette that felt slightly dreamy & a little Alex Katz inspired.
What are your favourite podcasts to listen to whilst painting?
The Daily, My Favorite Murder, Modern Love, This American Life – but lately I’ve been listening to audiobooks. While creating Skinny Dippers I listened to Normal People by Salley Rooney and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – both excellent.
You've recently had to move studios again. Tell us what absolutes your studio space needs to have.
I’ve always had my workspace at home until last month. I finally decided it was time to get a proper studio space. I need a door – I prefer to work alone and having the option to cut the world out is key for me. Wall space and natural light are very important too.
Do you consider yourself an Angelino now? Any favourite secret spots you are willing to share about your chosen home?
Oh man. I’m a bit of a work hermit but I do have a few favorite spots, although I wouldn’t call them secret. Skylight books in Los Feliz ( especially the art book side) Proof Bakery in Atwater Village Wanderlust Ice Cream in Atwater Village Barnsdale Park All the Nuetra houses in Silverlake.
Have you initiated your LA friends into any East Coast traditions or in-jokes?
I’m actually a mid-westerner :) but actually no. I think it’s hard to bring some of those traditions to LA since it doesn’t snow and there aren’t many lakes.
Finally, top five things to take whilst on a desert island.
Sunscreen, water, matches, drawing supplies, and food. If there’s a chance I could find things to eat on this island, I’d bring books over food.
Thank you so much, Jillian. We can't wait for your show.