IR Global member Katherine Evans would like to highlight the work of Owen Evans.
Owen’s art reflects his intensely spiritual nature. He had visions of a world beyond the physical, which he was only able to articulate through his imagery. He was also a passionate environmentalist, who joined the Green Party shortly before his death, and was committed to preserving a natural habitat for all living things undamaged by human interference. Sadly he was also afflicted by the twin curses of alcoholism and recurrent bouts of depression and seemed to those who loved him to be constantly under attack by demons intent upon wrecking any short period of sobriety or peace of mind he might have stumbled upon. Owen’s second wife Katherine regularly joked that when the demons were in full out attack on him, the Devil must have been short-staffed.
It was to respect Owen’s commitment to environmental causes coupled with his inability to recover from the alcoholism that was a constant theme in his life, that Katherine made a decision, after discussion with Owen’s four children (two from Owen’s first marriage to Gill and two from her marriage), that the best way to honour his art legacy was to ensure that any profits from the sale of Owen’s work would go to environmental charities and to organisations helping people crippled by the pain of addiction.
About the Artist
Owen had health problems as a child, and his mother and grandfather encouraged him to paint and draw to take his mind off being stuck inside the house for days at a time. A bright child, Owen was accelerated two years at school and at aged 16, won a place to study medicine at St Andrews University. He was too young to attend the University, and so stayed on an extra year at school to study for two further A levels in Art and English. Owen realised that Art was his passion and gave up the chance to study medicine in favour of studying Art at Bristol.
Whether to underline his commitment to his new path in life or as a sign of huge psychic pain, Owen burned his artwork in a bonfire in the family garden when his two children with Gill were quite young and did not paint or draw again for many years……A battle with alcoholism accelerated, from which Owen would never quite recover, despite three spells in rehab during the latter part of his life.
Owen tried to paint and draw but increasingly in his life, he suffered from a range of seemingly psychosomatic ailments, including allergies to oil paint and turpentine and anything with a strong smell. He could not paint or engage with regular art media any more. In desperation, Owen bought an early Apple Mac computer and became a very early adopter of digital art.
By 1994 Owen was retired from work on ill-health grounds, and he and Katherine agreed that Owen would stay at home to raise their two children. From 1994 until his death in February 2016, Owen created many beautiful images in between the effects of alcoholic chaos and a depression from which he rarely emerged, but fear of his work being rejected meant that other than submitting one or two pieces to an annual competition run by the New York Museum of Computer Art, and putting some thumbnail sketches on the artists’ website SITO, Owen’s art was never seen publicly, although he always maintained that he did want to have an exhibition and to sell the work online at some point.
A Promise Kept
In 2015, Katherine tried to help Owen to identify the pieces, which he wanted to take forward to the exhibition. He printed out copies of multiple images and made Katherine promise that whatever happened to him, she would make sure that there would be an exhibition of his work and that she would get that artwork to market for him.
Katherine made the promise but had no idea that over the previous twenty years, out of fear of losing images and general mental chaos, Owen had made multiple copies of every folder of work, each time he made even a small change to one image, and after his death she was confronted with 10 huge hard drives, each containing very similar but not identical images, and subsets of some images but not of others.
Katherine eventually enlisted the help of a family friend Torie, who had known her and Owen for a number of years, and she continued the painstaking process of sifting through all the folders to find images which matched to the 150 or so images, which Owen had identified as the ones he had wanted to go forward with.
To view more of the work by Owen, please click here to visit the website.
To discuss this in more detail with Katherine, please click here to view her profile/contact details.