An Afro-Centric Heritage Experience
Maurice Evans Art
ABOUT MAURICE EVANS (Courtesy of Maurice Evans Art) Within a few brief years, Maurice Evans has established himself as on of the best in the field of Black Art. His work has delighted countless collectors of African-American art. Heavily influenced by music, his series of paintings entitled, "The Colour of Jazz", although contemporary, tends to remind the viewer of a time when jazz was paramount. No matter the subject or whether the works are executed on paper, wood or canvas - the texture, intense colors, strong emotion and unusual, exaggerated perspectives, are what define a Maurice Evans painting. Maurice was born in the small town of Smyrna, Tennessee, on the now now-existent Sewart Air Force Base. He is the only child of Roy L. Evans, a retired Air Force Sergeant, and music. His mother, Susie M. Evans, is an elementary school teacher and writer. Recognizing his talents at a very tender age, his parents, teachers, and peers immediately encouraged his interest in art. At fourteen, Maurice landed his first professional art job as a freelance artist for a commercial art firm in Griffin, Georgia. Maurice was later given a scholarship to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta. During his first year, Maurice discovered that commercial art was too restricting - not always allowing the artist enough freedom to express his creative side. This prompted his switch to fashion illustration, which would later prove to be a pivotal point in this young artist's career. Elongation of the human figure, movement, and exaggeration are heavily used in fashion illustration to give clothing design a grandiose feeling. This distortion of the human body soon became a major part of his artistic style. Recognizing Maurice's talent, Patrick Kelly, a top fashion designer offered to help in his career and encouraged the young artist to move to New York. Unfortunately, this move was halted due to Kelly's untimely death. Months later Maurice graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with honors and Best of Class awards, with an Associates Degree in Fashion Illustration. Because of the dying market of fashion illustration, the next few years would prove to be a testing period. Lack of confidence would prevent him from moving to New York or Los Angeles, which was the most natural move for most artists. The Atlanta market would force Maurice back into commercial art and then later, medical illustration. Having been able to venture into a variety of art fields proved to be interesting, but stressful, and left his passion for self-expression still unfulfilled. An encounter with ex-classmate, Grace Kisa, would prove to be a much needed turning point in Maurice's career. Grace encouraged Maurice to try his hand in the Fine Art field by seeking employment with a fine art distribution company for whom she worked. The job proved to be very challenging, forcing him to dig deeper as an artist than he had ever done before. For the next three years, the exposure to a variety of artists with their diverse artistic backgrounds, proved to be one of the best experiences for Maurice. The presence of accomplished artists with their own artistic identity caused Maurice to ask himself, "What do I have to offer as an artist that is unique?" This led him to take old and new painting techniques and infuse them with his fashion background to make his artistic interpretation unique. At the end of his term with this company, Maurice had grown as much as he could creatively within the parameters that were set by his employers. The restrictions placed on him limited his use of color as well as limit concerning subject matter, to name a few. He then tried working for another distributor only to be faced with the same restrictions. This led to his solo climb to the top! He was then commissioned by the Bureau of Cultural Affairs for the Official 1994, Atlanta Jazz Festival poster. Soon afterwards, his debut at the 1994 National Black Arts Festival caused an unquestionable sensation...a star was born! Premiering with the "Colour of Jazz" series of painting, the use of unconventional materials in conventional formats, was something yet unseen in the fine Black Art market. With this series, Maurice breathed new life into a subject a dynamic as Jazz. A form of music that is one of the few things totally unique to the American culture as a whole, and has had an impact on music and people around the world. Maurice, being a musician himself, has brought his depth and insight of the jazz experience to his paintings. With it he gives the viewer the unique opportunity of experiencing the painting not merely as an on looker, but as a participant. So vibrant are the colors, so strong the movement, so varied the textures, that the viewer is compelled to get involved, often reaching out to touch the painting in order to garner a better understanding. So whether you are enjoying the seductive songstress, a compelling bassist or a riotous quintet, the passion in his works cannot be missed, denied and/or forgotten. The same can be said of all his works from his abstracts, to still lifes and real life. The artist approaches these paintings with the same passion expressing his versatility with style.
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