Local artist Lisa Evans is passionate about using naturally sourced skulls and wooden surfboards as her canvas. she shares her love of creating and the stories behind her artworks with FOCUS…
The last time we caught up with you, we chatted to you about your stunning surfboard paintings. You’ve gone in a different direction, moving on to skulls … tell us about this …
I still paint on surfboards as well, so I guess I’m incorporating skulls and surfboards into a Surf and Turf! I have always painted on skulls, but when I started painting on surfboards people were just blown away, so I’ve stuck with that and then just painted skulls on the side – just as a little thing to keep me moving.
How do you source the materials you paint on?
I try to only paint on skulls that have come from animals that died naturally, so sourcing them can be difficult. One time I put an advert in a Coonabarabran newspaper asking farmers for any skulls laying around their property, as I was willing to buy them. I got great feedback from out there; my brother is a Bowen Therapist, and he went out there and collected the skulls for me from the farmers. People give me skulls to paint as their own custom piece.
Also, I have a lot of friends I’ve met through a website called “Get Your Art Recognised’. There’s a guy over in Western Australia who’s out in the scrub all the time, and he gets me ones with big horns. From time to time I come into possession of some on of a kind skulls, at the moment I have a Wild Brumby skull whcih was found in the Northern Territory, a very old Water Buffalo skull also found in the Northern Territory and a Dolphin skull found on one of our local beaches. What’s the story behind your business name, One Wave Design?
One Wave Design came to me in a dream. The dream was my niece and I started painting on shirts, and on the T-shirts the words “One Wave Design” were written, so I woke up the next morning and just thought, “There’s the business ‘One Wave Design’”. A lot of my work does come from dream time; if I wake up at 3am and I’ve had a dream with a design, I need to get up then, draw it, write it down, and even start painting. It can wake me up, it gets that strong.
What do the designs in your dreams usually present as?
A design out of the blue; I see something in my head, and I have to quickly go and draw that design, or it can even come through as different colours – putting different colours together will just explode into a pattern. I don’t really do traditional totems or animals; I have in the past, but most of my stories come through patterns.
Give us some insight into the significance your designs hold …
I was asked by a woman who had seen my work, and she approached me to paint a surfboard for her son, who had passed away. I needed to know a little bit about his life to be able to paint a story for her, so she came over and we had a chat about her son. He was a Marine Biologist working in the Northern Territory and he also had a pet snake that he loved, so after she left I was a bit blown away – it was quite sad talking to somebody who has lost a child. And then the stories just started flowing; I couldn’t stop.
I painted a surfboard in three days … The snake was the main design on the surfboard, and in the design it turned out to be a drum, but the snake had eggs all around it – now, she didn’t tell me what sort of snake or anything like that before I’d finished the surfboard – it felt as though he was there guiding me.
When she saw the surfboard, she couldn’t believe what had appeared through my design! When she’d arrived home, the snake was coiled up in a bowl and had eggs all around it – well, I had painted the eggs. She sent me the photos of the snake coiled up, just like it had appeared in my painting. I asked her what a drum meant to her, as that had also appeared in the design, and she said that she had been wanting to learn the bongo drums for years and never did. She said that she had signed up to a bongo drum class just the day before. She was so blown away by it, and we just cried, because he was there with me while I painted it.
I also had a guy from Byron Bay contact me through the internet who had seen my work, and he asked me If I could paint him a skull. I had one beautiful skull that was a really old soul and I chose that for him, not knowing him from a bar of soap.
Once painting the skull, I was getting this overwhelming feeling that it was called “fertility” and after it was finished, I texted him to say it was ready, and I asked him if by any chance he was trying to have a baby. He said, “Yes, we are”. I said to him that if he was, he needed to hang the skull up; if he wasn’t trying to have a baby, not to hang it up, but have it down on the ground … That was only three months ago, so I’m waiting to hear back if they’ve had any success …
Where can we find your designs; do you attend the local markets at all?
I don’t have time to do the markets. When I paint something, it sells straight away, so I can never get a body of work with enough stock to go out. It’d be really me sitting down for six months and not showing anyone my work; that would be the only way I’d have enough stock to sell my works at the markets. When I receive a new skull, I put it up on my Facebook page raw, so that’s how my designs can be found.
Can you see yourself moving in any other directions with your art?
I’m sticking with the Surf and Turf for now; that’s what makes me happiest. I love painting surfboards, as they are on wood – they’re not rideable, unless someone provides me with a board and then I paint a design and then a layer of fibreglass is placed over the top. When painting on something natural that comes from the earth, like wood and bone, the stories just flow… Thanks Lisa.
If you have your own skull you would like painted with one of Lisa’s designs, you can contact her through her Facebook page www.facebook.com/Onewavedesign.com.au or phone 0435 731 873.