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Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Interview With Cryptid and Wildlife Artist Alex Evans
By Dorraine Fisher

Here’s another of our favorites in our artists series. Cryptid and wildlife artist Alex Evans talks about her work and how it’s evolved. And she has a special message for bigfoot witnesses. Alex’s work seems to capture the true spirit of her subjects and bring them to life in a unique way. We hope she keeps doing it for a long time to come.

Dorraine: When did you first become interested in pursuing art?
Alex: There was no moment when I 'decided'. I have always drawn as a young child and sold my art from my yard as a teen. It just advanced over the years to encompass new forms of art, expression and learning.
Dorraine: Have you always lived in Illinois? And what influence has that had on your art, if any?
Alex: I was born and raised in Illinois but moved to Indiana, where I live now. Being relatively close to the Art Institute of Chicago growing up, it had a profound influence on my love of art of all kinds. Even the Chicago art scene and its neighborhood art fairs allowed me to experience all the ways local arts could be. As a teen, I'd take the train with my sister, who also was an artist, to the Art Institute on free day to spend the day taking in all the world class art. We'd go to a little place and use our saved money to get a bite to eat later and discuss art and ideas. It was a time of great inspiration for me.
Dorraine: What made you pursue sasquatch art?
Alex: Although I have always had a fascination with Sasquatch, I never thought of drawing one in the past. Things changed after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in '08. After that, I decided to make a list of things I would like to do within my means and capabilities of it actually happening, lol. At the top of my list was to see a sasquatch. Now that I knew they were not only in the Pacific Northwest, I felt it was a good possibility but I had to learn more about local sightings etc. I joined the wonderful Oregon Bigfoot, run by Autumn Williams, and began a new chapter. It wasn't long before someone suggested I draw what an eyewitness saw and I began working with the witness to get what they saw down on paper. I have done quite a few drawings from then on.
Dorraine: Have you had a bigfoot encounter of your own?
Alex: I have never had a sighting of my own. I have had unusual things like sounds happen and two separate wood knocks in remote areas of Indiana, however. 
Dorraine: How do you attempt to depict the face of a creature considered by many to be mythical? Where does your prototype come from?
Alex: Since I have studied both human and animal anatomy and specialized in wildlife art in particular, this is where my basis of what such a creature may look like structurally. Of course I rely on the eyewitness to give me the main basis but I do have to put that onto a known armature of sorts, that is, a living being, known in some way to us, such as an early hominid, modern man and known animals. I feel it needs to be based on structures that are known and function in a real world. IF, say, it had wings and used those wings, it would need to be drawn in a way where form follows function, to be able to use those wings.
Dorraine: What keeps you inspired to do crypto-art?
Alex: I think it's that unknown aspect ~ the mystery of it all. Using my minds' eye to create something only described is challenging also. We all need challenges.
Dorraine: Tell us about your work with wolves.
Alex: Being a wildlife artist has led me to love many animals throughout my life. I have always loved Africa. I love the vast expanse where animals do what animals do best. It is the cradle of life for us humans too. Canids are of particular interest. I became a dog trainer in Search and Rescue for many years, working with K9 partners in searching both wilderness and disaster sites. Wolves are an extension of my love of dogs and my love of the natural places. Being at the top of the food chain, wolves sit in a unique position in the ecosystem where they are a necessary and integral part of everything in that environment. I participate in education about wolves and hopefully show how wonderful and important they are to all of us.
Dorraine: Do you have any other favorite subjects?
Alex: I am interested in the natural world of plants also. Birds too have played an enormous part in my life, having raised many types of birds and studied them up close. My father was a bird watcher and I learned much at an early age. I also help people with training and their dogs' behavior problems, as well as continuing to draw dog portraits. I like many subjects and never know when I will be inspired to learn something new in life.
Dorraine: Over the years, have you developed any theories or philosophies about Sasquatches?
Alex: While I keep learning from those who have had encounters and read others' theories, I mostly put it all on the table and ponder it. I think if I had a good sighting I might be able to better theorize on things, I don't know. While I am science-minded, I've learned that science only works if you don't conclude before the evidence is put forth and all things are explored.
Dorraine: Is there somewhere people can see a gallery of your work? Do you have a website or blog?
Alex: I do not have a website or blog at this time. I do have much of my work on my Facebook albums however.
Dorraine: What is your favorite medium for your art?
Alex: Whatever one I am currently doing, I guess! Right now I am sculpting animals and soon, cryptids. So right now I'm excited about 3D work again. I love drawing in pencil too, as it's very close to 'nothing', just graphite and paper and yet, can portray so much. Then there is clay, carving in foam and oil painting on canvas, where each has its unique properties. I doubt I will ever have a favorite because, like animals, each is cool in its own way and there is always a new medium to explore and learn from!
Dorraine: What else do you like to do outside of art?
Alex: I love music and reading interesting things. I tend to read 'how to' books/articles as well as factual books/articles on wildlife/all animals, the environment, mysteries and art techniques. I also enjoy learning more about dog behavior and how to work with dogs better. I also like hiking and enjoy days observing the natural world. I also like learning about survival in the outdoors, animal tracks and sign and plants. 
Dorraine: What do you do for a living? And does that have any correlation with or influence on the way you pursue your art?
Alex: Until recently I was a plant tech. I took care of tropical plants basically. I know a lot about the care and propagation of tropicals. I used to be an art restorer in Illinois and learned so much about that trade and did sculpting for that job. The influence it had on my sculpting was paramount, as it had me be very detailed in my observations. I am not working at this time because of a muscle pain condition I acquired two years ago. It keeps me from doing much of what I used to do (like extensive hiking) but I'm hopeful that it eases in time and that I will again be able to fulfill more of what motivates me.
Dorraine: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us.
Alex: I'd like to end by saying that all the folks that I've drawn sightings for have a story unlike any other. It is not up to me, as an artist, to make conclusions, but to put down to the best I am able, what they remember at a point in time for them. A lot of people ask me if I believe they exist or believe what people tell me. And to that I have to say that clearly something is there......what that is, is up for debate (and will be for some time I think). As far as believing people's stories, I have to say that most have had something extraordinary happen which changed their view of life. Their life was not the same. This is not something I take lightly because it shows a willingness to talk about something that is often dismissed or even ridiculed, yet it impacted them in a way I can only imagine.
Drawing for people and giving them a picture has helped many in a deep way. If I can help a person come to grips with their experience and further help with investigating the phenomena then we are all in a better place. We all play a part if we work together to find and fit these puzzle pieces together.


This Post By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher. Dorraine is a Professional Writer, photographer, a nature, wildlife and Bigfoot enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Dorraine conducts research, special interviews and more for The Crypto Crew. Get Dorraine's book The Book Of Blackthorne!

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