For Jillian Evelyn, it takes a lot of faith and honesty to move away from the safe path. Her art combines twisted female figures and graphic shapes and encourages you to self-reflect with vignettes of quiet daily life.
The artist creates a world populated by women with nipples and eyelashes that are annoyed and moody, believing that negative emotions can be colorful things.
We’re digging in to reveal how this artist balances these elements of life and art.
The Story of Jillian Evelyn
Jillian Evelyn was born in Michigan in 1987. Her mother worked for Home Depot for 20 years as a kitchen designer, and her father is a carpenter. She started drawing as soon as she could hold a crayon. But it wasn’t until becoming a junior in high school that she realized her art could be a career rather than a hobby.
Art was one thing she could do better than her three brothers, so she kept at it. She developed a close friendship with Davis Turner and his family. His father and brothers were artists, and their house was full of paintings. Going to their home was a pivotal point that changed Jillian’s life.
Jillian attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, majoring in advertising design because she didn’t think she couldn’t draw well enough to be an illustrator. Eventually, she changed majors concluding that you’re never going to advance trying to do what others expect you to do.
She moved to Boston after graduating with a degree in illustration. She worked at Converse, choosing aesthetics and creating designs for their vast array of shoes. By the end of 2017, Jillian moved to Los Angeles. But not before holding a sold-out show at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse in Miami and several solo exhibits.
What Is Jillian Evelyn’s Art Style?
Jillian Evelyn’s style is a graphic hybrid of figurative and abstract painting in a limited color palette. It contains a messy mix of political and personal, using clean lines, vibrant colors, and simple geometry.
Her paintings reflect the struggle and mindset of her self-imposed hell of trying to meet people’s expectations and her journey of self-reflection and self-acceptance. The colors she uses change with the season, and she loves to repurpose items when possible.
With so much garbage on the planet, it makes her happy to make something that was once unwanted desirable again.
What Inspires Jillian Evelyn’s Art?
Jillian’s early inspiration came from artists who created concert posters and album covers for the bands she liked. But her primary motivation is the exploration of the struggles of women and the anxiety that comes from society’s expectations. Her art expresses the emotions women don’t let other people see.
Another major inspiration for Jillian is her thoughts on patriarchy. She was devastated when family members voted for a President who had over 20 women accuse him of sexual misconduct. It was another wake-up call in addition to personal struggles with her body, sexuality, and career choices.
What Are Some of Jillian Evelyn’s Art Pieces?
Jillian Evelyn paints primarily on latex and acrylic-based paint on wood. Early in her career, she used more affordable house paint and loved making trips to Home Depot. More recently, she has begun expanding into murals and large-scale pieces. Jillian’s paintings probe the depths of awkwardness and discomfort. As a result, Evelyn can reflect on her internal conflicts.
This piece was created in 2022 and gained inspiration from early memories of picking berries while walking up and down the dirt road where she grew up. She hoped to find enough to make a pie but ate them before they could get them home. It’s painted in acrylic on a wood panel and measures 24 × 18 inches.
The painting is in the artist’s signature style. It depicts a woman with full red lips, presumably the artist, popping a blueberry into her mouth. She created it for an upcoming show, Potluck, curated by Dasha Matsuura for Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.
I Need a Xanax
After getting in trouble for crying at her corporate job, Evelyn began to explore these negative feelings on colorful canvases. The piece, I need a Xanax is a result of this introspection.
Evelyn styled it in one of her recurring themes of exaggerated eyes and nipples. It’s painted on a two-toned orange background, showing a topless woman crying. Illustrating this distress, she uses scribbled lines that represent thoughts and words. It’s a wonderful example of her growth shown through her art.
Using acrylic paint on wood, Evelyn created Wonder. It’s another of her topless women and seems to be a self-portrait. Wearing yellow panties, the woman gives the feeling that she’s comfortable in her skin and doesn’t care what others think.
Where Can I See Jillian Evelyn’s Art?
A simple Google search will reveal numerous websites that display and sell her artwork. For example, Jillian’s website has a gallery where you can see some of her recent work. Her website also has links to online galleries like Juxtapoz. In addition, you can join her mailing list and see what she has for sale.
Additionally, her Instagram page is a great place to scroll through her growing body of work. You can also reach her by email.
Open and Secret Messages in Jillian Evelyn’s Art
Evelyn has developed a code throughout her paintings that symbolize the more painful emotions while maintaining a clean and vibrant appeal. For example, an image like a peach usually concerns sexuality. On the other hand, scribble clusters represent anxiety or overthinking and wilting flowers for lost love.
She has a few others you’ll have to look for and has more planned. She enjoys finding ways to convey messages in her paintings that speak to the people in her life and lead you to self-examination.
What do you think of Jillian Evelyn’s art and inspiration? Let us know in the comments!
Outside Folk Gallery
You can explore more folk, street, and outsider art in our personal collection at Outside Folk Art. We’re celebrating these creatives and giving voice to rising black, Native, immigrant, and working mother artisans.
We’ll also be offering pop-up shows and collaborations with small museums, so be sure to follow us to discover the where and when!