With the August Franklin Art Scene just a few days away, we are excited to announce several new artists who will be showcasing their art in and around downtown Franklin for the 5th Anniversary! We had the pleasure of talking with Franklin native, Evan Genter, about his involvement in the Franklin Art Scene and what we can expect to see! Check back to see more exciting events and beautiful artwork to come next month!
Q: Does art run in your family or has this been a unique hobby of yours?
A: My mom enjoys sketching, my dad doodles often, and my uncles are both architects so there’s definitely art in my genes but no, no one is a full time artist in the traditional sense.
Q: How did you get started with art?
A: I have always enjoyed dabbling in it, but when I went to Independence High School I got really involved in my art classes there and entered every category I possibly could. I owe a lot of who I am as an artist to the two teachers I had there. One was really strict about deadlines and pushed me to work diligently and timely while the other one was more lax and emphasized the importance of “stepping back.” It was cool because their approaches were so different but very respectable, and I learned a lot about art and myself as an artist from both of them.
Q: What medium of art do you prefer?
A: It’s interesting because I normally don’t do origami. I love to draw – I am an illustrator and have done lots of comics and graphic novels. I am also proficient in oils and acrylics and do a lot of gesture drawing with pen and ink.
Q: How did you get involved with the Franklin Art Scene?
A: After I graduated I decided to take a year and work and learn how to support myself before starting school again. I looked at it as my last time to “work hard, play hard.” My friends and I had always envisioned doing a public art display around downtown and had all of these crazy ideas of what we could do, but we were unsure of how it would play out in a town like Franklin and really unsure of where to start. So one day I met with Jim at Gallery 202 and asked him if anyone had ever done public art and he said he had always wanted to but hadn’t found the right people yet. I explained a little bit about who I was and he introduced me to Linda at the Heritage Foundation. Together we were able to set up a platform and get the funding for the project and there I was, ready to start on this new adventure. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone that helped me get to this point – they are all awesome.
Q: How did you decide on origami?
A: My first thought was okay, I need something that is familiar to people and not offensive. I wanted my art to be aesthetically pleasing and pull a real reaction out of somebody. Origami has all these things and represents so much culture and tradition, which I thought was really fitting for Franklin. I also wanted my art to complement the environment and origami essentially is art-imitating life imitating art. It’s simplicity. It’s simplistic yet artistic and everyone knows what it is. You also get the sense it belongs in nature because art comes from life. It’s like a twin duality. The possibilities are endless.
Q: How would you describe the design and nature of your origami?
A: I would say the overall theme would be beautiful contrast. At first I asked myself, how do we perceive beauty? What is beautiful to us? I think origami is beautiful. To me it’s exciting to see art in nature. Each origami structure is made out of paper and is 4ft wide by 4ft tall. There are six total and will be spread out at different locations downtown. I think the right kind of people will find them.
Q: What color are these origami structures?
A: Ah, well see I really struggled with this. I kept going back and forth with my friends on what color they should be, but I decided to make them white because people’s imagination is the best way to color anything. The form basically inspires your imagination. It’s like a blank canvas for someone’s mind. They are now a way to inspire people.
Q: What did you learn from this project?
A: Number one thing I learned was that it’s not about you but about inspiring others. People can make art that is aesthetically pleasing but it’s up to the viewer to see it for him or herself. I thought a lot about how people will react when they see these, but you can’t control people’s reactions. People bring with them what they have, their own thoughts/beliefs/etc., and you just have to be okay with letting it go and letting them have their own experiences. I prayed everyday about this and thought that if it’s meant to be let it happen. There are ups and downs in any project you go through and at times I wanted to quit, but it is all about consistency and continuing to keep going even when you start to doubt yourself.
Q: Now that this project is complete, do you have any projects planned for the future?
A: School is my next adventure. I am going to take what I have learned here and apply it to my work and life at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida in the fall. This project has taught me a lot about patience and taking it one step at a time. I have a lot of ideas in mind for my art in the future, so we will see what happens from here!