Connecting with Darcy Evans: Femme Fatale in Rainbows

# #

Cwa Article

Image © Darcy Evans

Darcy Evans, born and raised in Jersey, is an 18-year-old portrait artist. Many of her works come from a place of exploring and questioning femininity. With her paintings, she aims to reach and support people that are going through similar experiences. 

Jersey – what comes to your mind?

Incredible beauty and history, but just as much imprisonment. 

What is your most memorable experience or accomplishment?

I wouldn’t say I have any standout achievements. I think that the idea of achievement is something that, for me personally, would set me up for failure. It is achievement enough to be living, especially when so much time has been spent just existing. 

If you could own any artwork, what would it be?

I would love to own the Perfect Lovers clocks by Félix González-Torres, or any of the idea sketches for the film Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro.

If there were a movie about your life, what would be the name of the movie and which actress would play you?

I think if my life were a movie, it’d be called “Garden” and I’d be played by Aubrey Plaza.  

How did you get into painting, and how has it influenced your life?

Painting has had such a big influence on my life. I’ve been doing art as early as I can remember really, but I only really started to discover how much I loved acrylic painting once I left school. I had done an acrylic portrait in my sketchbook for a GCSE project (not a very good one haha), but once I left school I was actually able to dedicate more time to painting as it’s more time consuming than drawing. I felt that the time I spent drawing and painting gave me something new, something to work towards, new directions, goals and opportunities. I focused on developing my skills and tried completely new techniques.

Your sources of inspiration are a pretty interesting combination of the post-impressionist and perfectionist Van Gogh, the “imperfectionist” and visual artist Dahlia Raz, and the “most curious spirit” writer-photographer Claude Cahun. Why them?

Van Gogh’s art has always been an inspiration for me. He was very skilled at depicting what it’s like to be misunderstood and isolated, from a completely different perspective. His specific ways of doing that resonate with me for some reason. The older I get, the more I understand and the more details I discover, which makes me love his art even more.

Van Gogh and Dahlia Raz, although very different in so many ways, both have one thing in common – their selection and use of colour. Dahlia Raz inspires me because at times my attention to detail and my penchant for perfectionism interfere with my original intent. Her content and art remind me of the original intention of my art, which is mostly just to express and document.

Claude Cahun inspires for their exploration of gender, like for example what it means to be masculine or feminine. Their artworks taught me a lot and sparked my own exploration of gender and what means to be a woman. Many of my works and personal beliefs are to be credited to them. 

Taylor Allard
Taylor Allard

What does it mean to be a woman for you, and how is it reflected in your art?

I don’t know if anyone can accurately pinpoint what it means to be a woman. That meaning is ever-changing. Once constructed, it’s torn down, and then reconstructed again. Yet, being a woman is something very unifying, empowering, and isolating at the same time. In my experience, it has been a process of unlearning, and I doubt I will ever truly be able to answer that question.

I do know that I’m very proud to be a woman – the only consistent thing I have found in my experience of womanhood so far. This is reflected in my art in many ways. For example, I titled my painting “Femme Fatale” because I was exploring the idea of tropes of women in media at that time, and how it is centred around the male gaze. To me, this painting also represents a time where I felt a lot of power. I find it interesting to see what kind of people get that same vibe from that painting and curious about their own femme fatale story.

Femme Fatale
Femme Fatale

Other paintings that discuss womanhood are “Woman emerging from water”, the textured paint representing a textured, raw, breaking from all beauty standards. Also Taylor Allard, A Woman With Curlers, but I prefer to leave those up for interpretation. 

Your work comes from a place of exploring and questioning femininity. What discoveries and questions moved you the most?

For me, the absence of any discoveries has been the most moving thing about exploring femininity. Every time I figure something out, there is an abundance of questions underneath it, and suddenly it’s all dismantled again. I think femininity is just a social construct, that’s not to say it’s not important. Yet, I believe that just because I was born a woman doesn’t mean that I must conform to the social construct. I am just slowly shaping femininity into what I want it to mean, and the rest of the world will catch up later. 

If you had to paint the notion of femininity, what would the painting look like?

The painting would never get finished. It’d be always changing. I’d either have to paint a big blob of nothingness or take up the impossible task of painting every single thing that has ever been identified as feminine in history. Even then, I don’t think either would be an accurate representation. 

You create beautiful and powerful paintings, yet there is some sort of darkness surrounding your art. Where does this darkness come from?

I think anyone painting an expression of themselves will have some darkness. I really value a sense of vulnerability in art that comes through when you share sides of yourself you’re uncomfortable with. We all have sides that we don’t want others to see. I just find my brain a very isolating place to be at times, and there is no way to fully express that in words. For me, it’s almost a relief to paint it: it’s a process of letting go and remembering at the same time. 

Radiohead’s 7th album “In Rainbows” is an album “of psychological terrors and fears, and of deep physical and emotional desires”. Singer Thom Yorke said that ‘In Rainbows’ lyrics are based on “that anonymous fear thing, sitting in traffic, thinking, ‘I’m sure I’m supposed to be doing something else’.” How would you describe your art?

My art is similar to “In Rainbows” as it reflects my own personal desires or fears. But I also like creating a colourful world. My art is a way for me to communicate how I perceive things at the time, it’s also therapeutic to amplify the good parts. I’d describe my art as a puzzle, I think that over time it can be deciphered if you’ve gone through the right or wrong experiences. I hope that my art resonates with people, the same way Van Gogh’s art resonates with me. Being able to visually see a similar mindset as yours, being able to understand and be understood. 

A Woman With Curlers
A Woman with Curlers

Your artworks reflect and provoke emotions. What inspires you to paint?

Although I have many inspirations about what technique I’ll use or what type of painting I’ll do, I wouldn’t say that anything specific inspires me to paint. I guess it’s just a part of who I’ve always been. I think a lot of people will understand the need to just create.

What is it like to be 18 years old during a global pandemic? How did the pandemic influence your art? 

In fact, it’s really strengthened my relationship with myself. I’ve always been quite alright with being independent, but I think it’s a whole other thing to be at peace with being alone. Not to negate the downfalls of the pandemic, but at this point, I’m grateful to still be living through it. The pandemic has definitely affected me, and it shows in my art. For example, my emotional expression in my most recent piece is heavily amplified by the pandemic – the feeling of boredom, staring at a screen for hours, feeling like if life isn’t moving onwards.

If you were to make a future entry in your visual journal, how would you portray yourself today in 25 years?

I’m not quite sure, probably the same at heart as always, hopefully with a much better technique and skills.