Art Talk | Evi O
Designer Evi O’s design instinct is drawn from a love of drawing and painting, which stemmed and featured strongly in the early years of her childhood. Her distinct use of bold colour and wonderful graphic forms have made the covers of many an inspiring book - she is quite a star in the publishing world! We were thrilled to sit down and chat to Evi about her fierce artistic passion, the themes she returns to and the magnetic love she has for the world of colour.
Hi Evi, tell us a little about your artistic journey? I’m a keen drawer since I was young. I studied design and graduated in my early 20s. I worked for Penguin Books, drawing and painting as leisure throughout my 20’s. I started sharing my paintings with the public about the same time I started my own design studio, and hit my 30’s. And here I am now, adventuring around.
As an artist, what theme do you always return to? I tend to dwell on happy ordinary subjects that I experience daily. The essence of living in the present: a walk in the park (literally), a funny conversation, a new friend, a happy tune, a delicious meal, and many more.
Has art and design always been a big part of your life? I was always intrigued with the idea of being a creative since I was in a young age. My family is not particularly creative, they’re more entrepreneurial. I grew up a total bookworm, perhaps one of those rare children that is happier to see a book than a toy for presents, especially if they’re decorated with beautiful illustrations.
What do you love most about what you do? That every project is different, and that the nature of the work is quite collaborative. I think I would have pursued psychology if I didn’t do design. I love interacting with people, listening to their stories and and help them with various problem-solving. And a lot of those qualities are a big part of being a good designer. As with my art practise, I love that it’s personal, kind and tender. I don’t practice art like I do design. I set my own time, and don’t let anything rush the process.
Your proudest achievement to date? I’m quite proud of my mini design studio team. They are a bunch of happy, funny, creative people that bring great energy to my every day. Without these people in my life, I would not be able to function wholly as a creative.
Colour is a big element in your work – why is it so important to you? I feel happy when I paint, and I want the viewers to feel that energy. Not all colours are happy, if you notice I tend to mix a few sombre colours, but then contrast them with brighter, punchier hues.
What has influenced your work the most? On a daily basis, my creative peers: the artists, designers, writers, publishers, and many more. It’s also a privilege to be working closely with Saint Cloche gallery Paddington, they always encourage their artists to keep their art practice real and interesting. Stylistic-wise, I love the works of Ellsworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Henrik Vibskov, Etel Adnan - the list goes on and on and on.
Where do you go for inspiration? Conversations, music, movies, books, exhibitions are the usual culprits.
I usually wake up at: 5.45 AM.
My perfect day would involve: A dog walk with a friend or two, a delicious coffee, funny studio banters and a great music playlist.
I am inspired by: The extraordinary ordinary, simple daily musings.
Best advice I’ve ever received: All will be fine when the time comes.
I couldn’t live without: Family and friends.
My favourite daily ritual: Starting a day with a chatty kind of dog walk with friends.
I recently discovered: Blinkist. Don’t judge me.
On my wish-list: Giant paint brushes.
I’m currently reading: I have a long to-read-list.
And listening to: Wings’s Band of the Run album.
My guilty pleasure: Eating in bed reading comic books, or binging on Netflix
My mantra is: Work should feel like play. I live by it.