We had the good fortune of connecting with Evan Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Evan, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
My career in Fine Art, and Decorative (site specific) Art has taught me many important lessons over the years. The importance of hard work, the importance of taking care of the customer/client, but perhaps the most important lesson I have learned is the value of understanding the need for both “right brained” creative tasks, and “left brained” organizational tasks, and how to switch back and forth between the two. It takes a conscious effort to recognize when its appropriate to turn off the phone and get lost in the creative development of a project, and when to put the brushes aside and take care of the business. My ability to do that, to a greater or lesser extent, has been the single most important key to my success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Having a career as an artist/creative is not for the faint of heart. In a world that values efficiency, and rewards the production of endless consumables, the creative path is almost never the shortest distance between two points. We are by nature, an odd bunch. Artist are generally riddled with self doubt and yet imbued by fleeting moments of uber-self confidence. When my feet hit the floor in the morning, It is not unusual to have been processing a certain idea for hours in my sleep. If it still resonates in the morning, I am eager to put it to the test. I love my work. I love the satisfaction of solving a visual problem in an artistic way. Of mixing that perfect color, dropping in the most effective cast shadow, or proposing that “brilliant” idea to a client and watching their face light up with understanding and anticipation.
I did a presentation once in front of the entire city council of one of the most populous cities in California that resulted in a massive 40 Million dollar restoration project that was pivotal in the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. This might have been one of my finest moments. Part of this was fortuitous timing, part of it was collaboration with a brilliant architect, and part of it was tapping into creativity (inherited from my mother) and propelling it through with a robust work ethic. (inherited from my father)
Similarly, moments of solitude at the easel are accompanied by both immense satisfaction and painful frustration. I have exhibited fine art and won awards and had successful exhibitions in exciting locations. and… conversely, there are times when i feel i have lost sight of the road because of my natural impulse to re-invent the wheel. I have skipped both breakfast and lunch out of excitement to begin a painting, only to tear it off the easel and stomp on it by dinner time. I have been mixing paint for over 30 years and in every context imaginable and yet I still occasionally get fooled by color. And I have presented my most visually eloquent work, only to have the client say… “um… no thanks. I Think we will go in a different direction.”
The rewards are mighty though, and although I often joke with my colleagues about wanting a different, simpler career, there hasn’t been a day go by in 30 plus years where I haven’t been grateful that my profession, the career that best suits me, has found me and hasn’t let me go.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have been in this position many times (that of being a tour guide to friends and family from out of town) and I don’t think I am particularly good at it. Los Angeles has so much to offer. It can be stressful and overwhelming to me. I have lived in the foothills of northern L A for most of my adult life and only now am a learning to appreciate the hikes and bike rides available to me. I seldom go to the beach, but always love it when I do. Im not dialed in to what’s currently hot in LA. But since you asked… here are some suggestions.
Beach day- Venice for people watching, or Zuma for the actual beach
Nature- Huntington Library, Descanso Gardens, Griffith Park, Topanga Cyn.
Views– Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, Elysian Park, J Paul Getty Museum
Restaurants– Im the wrong person to ask, but ill go if you invite me
Museums– J Paul Getty for the facilities, Norton Simon for the art collection
Night life– Hollywood Bowl, Dodgers Stadium
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents. Bryce and Luane Wilson for teaching me the importance of creative thinking and having a good work ethic.
Linkedin: Evan Wilson