Art has been part of Davy Evans’s life from an early age—beginning with his father’s hobbyist landscape paintings. He studied graphic design in Haverfordwest College in western Wales, where he learned to combine drawing, photography, and the Photoshop techniques he’d been teaching himself, in applied design. He went on to Brighton University, and from there, a referral from one of his tutors landed him at Beggars Group, an independent group of music labels, as a junior designer.
“I worked with a lot of great artists—like Zomby, Scott Walker, and The xx,” he says. “That job at Beggars Group paved the way for my future career, and I began to get more requests from musicians.”
Today, Evans works as a freelance designer in Hove, England—a small city near Brighton. His clients range from the Sydney Opera House and BBC 6 Music to Wired magazine and TED Talks.
Experimentation continues to be very important in the artist’s work. “I try to play with new materials and photography techniques whenever I can, allowing for happy accidents to form organically,” he says. “I like the challenge of making something out of nothing; for example, I’ll often try to use everyday household items to create effects.”
His work typically begins with a photograph, footage, or an analog process. Then he takes the results into Adobe Photoshop or Adobe After Effects for digital manipulation. (Those two, along with Adobe Premiere Pro, are his go-to tools.)
A Psychedelic Aesthetic
Evans’s art spans still images, motion, music video, live visuals, photography, abstract compositions, and more. Throughout it all, an abstract, fluid, and psychedelic aesthetic shines through. “I find inspiration from science fiction illustrations, music, and all kinds of things my older brother introduced me to, which I’ve carried with me—including musician Aphex Twin, video artist Chris Cunningham, and album covers from Warp and Factory Records,” he says.
He also remembers being blown away in college by a film called Powers of Ten, which offers insight into the visual importance of scale. “I developed a fascination with the visual similarities between the micro and macro. For example, a mineral under a microscope can have similar visual textures to space or galaxies, even though they’re at opposite ends of the scale spectrum,” he explains. “I try to look at that play on scale in my work.”
An example of this is Otherside, in which the images are created from Evans’ macro photographs of chemical reactions no bigger than a few centimeters, combined in Photoshop to build something that feels much larger.
In a recent personal project, Floral, Evans takes inspiration from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown: he wanted to show the perspective of those who could view nature only from the inside looking out, with a glass sheet representing that divide.
To accomplish this, he photographed flowers through distorted reflective materials inspired by water reflections and natural refraction. “I began by experimenting with different ways to capture a film of condensation on a sheet of glass, to get the right water-drop effect. I wanted to capture the feel of raindrops on a window,” he explains. “Then, I photographed flowers set behind the glass and used printouts, lighting, and household materials like cotton wool for clouds to create backgrounds that look like outdoor environments.”
He then moved the photographs into Photoshop for post-production. He used focus stacking in a few places to get the right level of focus, where some areas were blurred due to working with a shallow depth of field in the camera, and the Oil Paint filter to smooth out other areas.
An Eye on the Future
In addition to his current projects, Evans has his eye on the future—one he hopes will include more experimentation and collaboration.
“I’m hoping to get an exhibition together for all my print and photography work and generally be more proactive with exploring new technologies to combine with my work,” he says. “Also, I’d like to focus on working with other artists.”
At the moment, he’s into a lot of ambient and drone music and would love to do more visuals for musicians in that field.
“And there are so many visual artists out there I’d love to work with—Yoshi Sodeoka, Lucy Hardcastle, or Natalia Stuyk to name a few,” he says.