Sunday, September 6, 2015

Evan Ishmael - Mixed Media

Evan Ishmael

Name: Evan Ishmael
City/State: Minneapolis, MN
Facebook page: Evan Ishmael Fine Art
Etsy Page: EvanIshmaelFineArt

I am an artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In my collection of untitled works, I explore the unique and idiosyncratic medium of flame to compose visual images on canvas, wood and glass and paper.  The residue that’s left behind creates formations in soot reminiscent of the vast landscapes of ethereal worlds, experimenting with form and composition by using hard edges and, most recently, the addition of color and wood in my latest works.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I'm currently exploring a series of work in collaboration with my wife. We are using my signature soot style along with ink washes, to create new, abstract compositions. She is an amazing artist in her own right, but this has been our first attempt at an art collaboration. We're both really looking forward where this series is going to take us. 
In the past, my work has always centered around the exploration of form. It started as an attempt to explore a new medium and has evolved into a fascination with larger, more complicated compositions. I begin each piece by envisioning myself building an organic object—sometimes a towering form, other times delicate or minimal ones. I continue to push my own limits with size as well as content; constantly pushing the boundaries of an intensively restrictive medium. My goal is for the piece to entirely encompass the person interacting with it, and I want for the viewer to imagine the work perpetually expanding into space beyond the canvas in front of them.

How did you decide to become an artist?
It's never really been something I had made a conscious decision to do. It has always been something I've just had to do. I don't know what else I'd be doing with my life. Accounting? 

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
When I was a teenager I read Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art." Among a lot of valuable advice, what I got out of it was that the most important part of being an artist is just putting in the time, regardless of the quality of the product. The quality doesn't matter if you can't even get yourself into your studio.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
I sell most of my work through my shows and from my website. I've recently set up profiles on Etsy (EvanIshmaelFineArt) as well as Vango (Evan Ishmael). I'm excited to see if this opens up new avenues to sell work. 

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy? 
I'm a huge fan of HOTTEA (@hotxtea on Instagram). I've also been loving the works of Morgan Pease ( and Russ White (, who are both based here in Minneapolis.

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I love checking out new work at Waiting Room Gallery in Loring Park, as well as Public Functionary and Gamut Gallery. Sometimes I'll find myself popping in and out of Circa Gallery and Burnett Gallery, too, just to see what's new.  But I also love wandering through downtown alleys trying to find new street art. There is an alley between 1st and 2nd Ave near Washington that always has some amazing new stuff. 

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? Well, I curate several locations around the metro, so has been an invaluable resource for finding new artists. Aside from that I've had great experiences finding new artists on Instagram or visiting large scale venues like the State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition. 

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

My next show is at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis (1420 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454) in September 2015. It's titled "Sootloose and Fancy Free". The reception will be September 11 from 5:30-7pm, and will include several different series of my work from the past 3 years.

Image List:
1.Blue on Wood, 2015, 42"x42"
2.Yellow on Wood, 2015, 42"x42"
3.Blue 2, 2014, 22"x30"
4.Blue 1, 2014, 30"x36"
5.Orange 1, 2014, 20"x34"
6. Untitled 13, 2013, 36"x48"
7. Image of artist

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