Blog: Artist Focus | Studio Interview
Gareth Tristan Evans
a.k.a "The Trunk of Funk"
Artist & Maker
Our new Studio Interview blog starts in Macclesfield where we chat with artist and maker Gareth Tristan Evans ...
How did you come to be an artist?
My mum, Menna, was an artist as was her mother before. Growing up, music and art were my main interests. I didn’t follow my artistic vent into my working life as – back in the day - it wasn’t really seen as a ‘proper’ career. My career was and still is - on a part time basis - in the music industry. The urge to create however, never left me and about 5 years ago I rekindled that passion. The kids had grown up, work eased, and I had time to explore my creative needs. It was like falling in love all over again and I threw myself into it. I’m still on that journey of rediscovery and I feel so lucky I got a second chance.
Describe your work in three words
Edgy. Nostalgic. Detailed.
What draws you to creating collage/mixed-media based work?
Even when I was in my early teens, I was mixing all sorts of mediums. I remember using a BIC pen in an oil painting of David and Goliath that ended up getting exhibited in Westminster Cathedral. In those days that was sacrilege, so I kept schtum. Now I think the art world is far more open minded. I now feel totally free to experiment with all sorts of media and materials.
Does the area in which you live, influence your work? And / or other areas
I’m lucky enough to live in the countryside just outside of Macclesfield and as such you would think the answer is inevitably yes but, in my case, I don’t know if that’s true? My work doesn’t reflect my surroundings at all. However, I do appreciate the space, the light, the peace and quiet of my environment. I imagine these natural ‘forces’ positively energise my creativity.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Growing up in the late 70’s the best day of the week was when 2000 AD dropped through the letterbox. I loved the dynamic artwork of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog etc. I also loved the strange off world album artwork of Roger Dean. Graffiti, tattoo and street art have always interested me as well as anything sci-fi. Finally, I grew up surrounded by my dad’s literary collection for which the exotic titles and covers had held a fascination for me. I think you can find me somewhere in a mixture of all these.
Do you listen to any favourite music, radio or podcasts while working in the studio?
Music is and always has been in the foreground and background of my working and private life. In fact, ‘The Trunk of Funk’ is a name I am also referred to as – especially on Instagram - and comes from an early hobby of mine creating Bluetooth speakers from vintage suitcases and audio. I have eight in my studio and one is always playing something, mostly from Radio 6 Music. I prefer to discover new artists but also keep in touch with established acts such as Radiohead and The National. Podcasts are a welcome companion when you are putting in the hours. Current favourites are ‘Manhunt’ and ‘Dark Matter’ both on BBC Sounds.
If you could invite three artists or art influencers (living or deceased) to dinner who would they be?
I follow a fair few artists via social media. Some of them are even less well known than I am! Post Pandemic, it would be great to meet them all in a busy pub to celebrate freedom. We could have a special guest like Grayson Perry to bring some decorum to proceedings.
What drew you to exhibit at the Watergate Street Gallery – do you have a criteria for choosing the galleries where you would like to show your work?
I grew up in Llangollen, half an hour from Chester. A big day out was a visit to Chester with my mum, so I’ve always had fond memories of the city. In the 90’s Jeanette, my wife and I bought a trio of prints from the Watergate Street Gallery. Therefore, when I began to get somewhere with my art, one of my goals was to get into the Watergate. Alex gave me a chance with ‘My Father’s Books’ and from there it has gone from strength to strength. Criteria is usually the type of work they show, the location and a feel for the gallery and the people that run it.
What are you most excited about artistically in 2020?
The current crisis has side-lined everyone’s best laid plans including mine. Most small businesses including galleries are struggling and have uncertain futures. My short-term goal is to keep my head above water until the landscape becomes less dystopian. During the lockdown I have been experimenting with some new ideas as well as evaluating the digital media side of things. I’ve got commissions that need doing and I have online sales that need fulfilling. I’m not looking too far beyond that. Roll on 2021!
Take a look inside Gareth's studio to see where the creativity happens!
Please click through to view Gareth's full collection here