Drawing from a young age, Jade Evans, a senior from Arizona studying art, had only been painting for a year when she presented her senior art show in December. For her show, she said she turned friends, family, and acquaintances into paintings, emphasizing different characteristics she is reminded of whenever she sees them. Evans is known for being her “happiest” when she creates art.
Evans said, her exhibit “Faces and Hearts” is about “how everybody is a product of the people around them.”
She said, “Everybody we meet has something really beautiful and wonderful to teach us if we let them. My art is celebrating the fact we can learn from all the people around us and our community.”
Featured in her exhibit were portraits of her mom, her step-dad, her niece and friends. One of the portraits was of Krysten Tuufuli, Jade’s friend and classmate in her previous painting classes. The two friends helped motivate each other throughout the semesters and constructively critiqued each other’s work before handing it to their instructors, so they would know what to work on.
Tuufuli, a senior from New Zealand studying painting, explained, “One day she asked me, ‘Is it okay if I paint you?’ and I said, ‘Yes’ because I know she paints super well and she explained to me what her concept was, which was [painting] characteristics of a person, but only one characteristic that reminds her of that [person].”
Evans shared how she usually takes two weeks to finish a painting, but she thinks about her concept a few weeks to a month before starting a piece. “I’ll do some sketches of how I want the composition laid out and what I want the piece to say. I want to know the concept before I actually start the painting, Once I do that, then I figure out how to have the model take their photos, and go from there.”
Lily Larsen, Evans’ mother, shared how Evans grew up seeing her dad’s work, since he was an artist as well and how she wanted to encourage her. “She started drawing when she was really little and she got older and I was just making her take art classes because that was the time she was happiest – when she would draw.”
Evans said she had never painted until coming to BYU–Hawaii and “last fall semester was the first time I ever painted and before that, I had just only ever drawn. Painting was a new medium for me, but it’s been just a full year of painting and learning so much. I’ve learned really quickly, and I decided to keep learning.”
Associate Professor and Coordinator of Visual Arts Jeff Merrill, commented on how Evans has been a very diligent student. “She’s always been interested in trying to learn more, she’s one of the students that asks a lot of questions. She searches out other artists and studies things on her own.
“I think it’s interesting that usually when students do their final show, there’s a lot of work that’s being completed in a short amount of time and that concentrated effort really yields a lot of growth, so you can really see them grow in that short amount of time and that’s obvious [in] her work here.”
The biggest lesson Evans learned was to embrace where you’re at. “Just to stick with it, and when you stick with it, be dedicated even when you’re frustrated. We’ll grow and we’ll learn,” she shared.