Studio Visit: Kinoko Evans
Where Creativity Works: Inside Kinoko Evans' '12 Northwest Portland Studio
Untitled Magazine visits the working studios of PNCA students, faculty, staff, and alumni, taking a closer look at lives and spaces of sustained creative practice.
The walls of Kinoko Evans‘ studio are covered with work by friends and comics role-models. There are pieces by Daria Tessler, Luke Ramsey, and Adam Beadel of Team Nerd. There are also pieces Evans herself, by PNCA classmate Sera Stanton ’12, and by Illustration faculty member Meg Hunt. There’s a piece from Souther Salazar‘s Traveling Tortoise Trading Post, and a painted skateboard deck.
“I traded for that one,” Evans said, pointing to the print by Hunt. “And I got the one from Sera in a print exchange.”
When Evans, who graduated from PNCA in 2012 with a degree in Illustration, moved to Portland, it was to take advantage of the city’s community of comics artists. She’s capitalized on that community during her time at PNCA: She volunteers at the Grass Hut Gallery inside of Floating World Comics, has taught with PNCA’s smARTworks summer youth arts program, and regularly meets other comics artists at coffee shops around town for sketch parties and spontaneous critiques. Floyd’s on NW 1st and Couch is a favorite.
“I’ve been trying out different brands of tracing paper and vellum recently, trying to find the best one. It’s good to be portable. My light table tied me to my studio.” Evans said. “This way, I can take stuff with me to a cafe. But when I’m working on some of the writing parts, I’ll work from home. I need to be alone to take notes and to read.”
Evans’ studio is also her bedroom – and her dining room, living room, and everything-else room. She shares the studio apartment with Cameron Hawkey ’13, another PNCA illustrator, and their cat, Xiuxiu. Evans and Hawkey have made the most of the space, proving that an art studio doesn’t need to be in an expansive warehouse to be useful.
Evans has spent some time living in Japan and knows how to live small.
“We curated the hell out of this apartment. I’ve curated shows before and we clearly know a lot of artists in Portland.”
Currently Evans is working on Volume 2 of her “Epic of Gilgamesh” comic. She researched, drew, and published Volume 1 for her final thesis project at PNCA. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the story of the friendship between Gilgamesh, fifth king of Uruk, now modern-day Iraq, and Enkidu as they seek out and defeat monsters, and ultimately, death itself. In her research (“I love research. I’m such a nerd.”), Kinoko compared four different versions of the ancient epic. The similarities and differences helped Evans shape her own version of the story.
Evans is looking forward to working on the upcoming volumes of the story and finds all sorts of lessons in it for life today.
“We don’t know what we’re doing on this planet. We’re constantly blowing it. We blame things on Romney, on Obama, on baby-boomers,” Evans explains. “But we’re not born with a set of instructions. People have always been stupid. They’ve always been screwing up. It makes me feel better. This is normal.”
Evans is already looking ahead to new projects: “I’d love to do a comic about horses, and one about potlatch agreements between native groups on the East Coast.”