#97: Evan Mann
Artist Evan Mann's sculptural work seems to grow naturally, in an all-white world of amorphous and organic shapes. Even his drawings appear to have begun in one corner and spread across a surface like snowmelt or multiplying cells, growing an idea. When he throws these shapes into a video arena, they walk, move and breathe. We asked Mann, a RedLine resident and boss of his own fledgling video production company, to share his views by taking the 100CC questionnaire. Here's how his answers took shape.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
I have no idea...perhaps those cave painters in Lascaux, so I could show them what they started.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Three people have been on my mind. Two are my favorite filmmakers: Andrew Thomas Huang and Michael Langan. Their video work is incredible; please look them up. The third person -- I am not sure if he actually exists. Let me explain: There is a Green Day song titled "Good Riddance," and everyone knows it: Something unpredictable, but in the end its right, I hope you had the time of your life. Well, I heard this rumor that the song was inspired by one of the members of the band, who left the world to quietly join an Eastern Orthodox monastery in Arizona called St. Anthony's.
Supposedly, he is one of the greeters at the monastery and has scars on his hands and neck where his tattoos were lasered off (the lyrics in the song even allude to this). I have tried to research the truth of this story, but have been unable to find any evidence. The story, whether true or not, fascinates me. The person in the story is one I would like to meet, because nobody leaves one of the twentieth century's most famous bands to become nobody in the desert of Arizona. I plan to visit St. Anthony's in July to find the truth.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I am probably not connected enough to the art world to be aware of any trends that need dying, however, there does seem to be a lot of unnecessary and irreverent nakedness floating about, but I am not sure if this is even art. I think it's just nakedness.
What's your day job?
My interest in creating video art has actually created my day job. In November of 2012, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a film, The Otherworldly, which I just finished. I invested the money in the basic video equipment to not only make the film, but to start my own production company, Otherworldly Productions. I had to find a way to sustain my family and still be able to create my video work, which is an expensive medium. My dream is to direct music videos. I just completed my first year as an adjunct art professor at DU, but Otherworldly is really picking up and I am taking this spring quarter off to see if we can make it work. It's super-scary stepping off the comfy route and going out alone, especially with a family, but the adventure -- and the rewards -- are thrilling.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I would lose my drive, probably. The struggle would be gone, as well as the risk of art-making. Damien Hirst says it is very difficult to make art without financial limitations. Limitations, financial or otherwise, keep us tethered to the reality of being human. Unlimited funds would taint my perspective and cause me to lose the vital ingredient of any art-maker: empathy.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
I think Denver is doing a great job to support the arts. We have awesome places like RedLine and Ironton Studios. We have the MCA, DAM and the Still museum. We have Wonderbound and the Colorado Ballet, heaps of galleries and a better live music scene than Austin (according to a conversation I had with Governor Hickenlooper). The system seems to be working well. What is Denver but the individuals who make up Denver? The people of Denver are making it happen; I am so thankful to live here.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I am going to go for an under-appreciated strong arm in our community. She is the executive eirector of RedLine and has laid down her life on the behalf of the Colorado Creative community. Her name is Louise Martorano.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
There is a new short film brewing. I do not yet have a title for it, but I do have Academy Award-winning DP (director of photography) Brook Aitken (The Cove) in on it, along with the Wonderbound dance collective. We should be able to make something interesting. I have also been applying to heaps of film festivals (Real Ethereal recently won the Jury Award for Best Experimental Short at the Slamdance Film Festival). The biggest news, however, is that I am going to be a dad; my wife, Deborah, is due in early May, and nothing can beat that!
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?
Lots of people come to mind, but I will name the ones who I notice: Amber Cobb, Pedro Barrios, Paul Michael, Matthew Jorgenson, Caleb Hahne, Deanne Nixon, Libby Barbee, Theresa Anderson, Nikki Pike, Chris Coleman, Damon Mohl...
See work by Evan Mann in his first solo show, the transmedia installation Clouds of Unknowing, on view at Ironton Gallery through April 5. His film The Otherworldly will be screened at 8 p.m. April 4 during a closing reception.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
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