“Who am I?” is a question that has served as a launching point for many artists for centuries, and it is what brought Evan Paul English from his apartment in Brooklyn, NY back to Idaho to participate in our artist-in-residence program.
Born and raised in Meridian, Idaho, English’s college career began at Boise State University in 2008, where he spent three semesters studying art. English went on to receive a BFA from the University of Arizona and an MFA from NYC’s Pratt Institute in 2016. As English began developing the next phase of his work, he realized a trip to Idaho was vital to the development of his work.
“I make a lot of work about my early-life surroundings,” English explains. “Idaho possesses a certain aesthetic that is not found anywhere else in the world. I try to communicate the humble authenticity of Idaho in its quirky, Americana, objective existence. Through further research on the cities of Boise and Meridian and collecting ready-made objects which resonate with that history (to use as sculptural material), I hope to make a series of mixed media works concerning identity.” The results of his work were displayed and discussed at an exhibition and art talk entitled “Uprooted” in February, 2017 at Surel’s Place.
Local artist Erin Cunningham, taught English back in 2009 at BSU, which was one of her first semesters as a teacher. English still stands out in her mind, and she has been following his career ever since he left. “I’m excited to see what a span of time in his hometown would offer [to English] who makes work rooted in memory, but has always done so from across the country.”
In addition to his art talk at Surel’s Place, Evan Paul English hosted a public workshop during his residency to guide others in his process of self-exploration and the creation of their own self-portraits using non-traditional materials such as quilt scraps, old photographs, or clothing.