At the opening for Refuge & Refuse, I was able to talk to artist and former Bulb resident, Danielle Evans, about her work and what it was like to see herself presented in a gallery for the first time. She spoke warmly and candidly about her partnership with another creative Bulb resident, Boxer Bob, who built the structure known as Boxer Bob’s Mansion on the site. From her makeup and clothing, to her incredible paintings, it is clear that Evans lives her life in full color.
[Elena Gross] What inspired you to make these paintings?
[Danielle Evans] Actually, what inspired me is the person I’m with today [Boxer Bob]. He would make me upset so rather than take my anger out on people, I took it out on here.
[EG] They’re truly beautiful. And so colorful!
[DE] Thank you, that’s what a lot of people say. They say I put colors together really well.
[EG] Did you have much experience painting before moving to the Bulb?
[DE] No, not really.
[EG] This is all recent?
[DE] Yeah. I try to paint everyday. If I don’t I go crazy. So yeah, I’ve got a few new paintings that Robin [Robin Lasser, artist & co-curator of Refuge in Refuse] says are amazing. My detailing is getting much better.
[EG] Do you start out with ideas about what you’re going to paint?
[DE] No. It just comes out. It’s just the mind being interested in something.
[EG] Can you talk a little about your materials? Are these all done on wood?
[DE] Yeah. Actually, where we were staying, we just got any kind of thing that I could paint on pretty much. They could be cabinets or tables or anything.
[EG] Is this the first time you’ve seen your work shown?
[DE] Yes! They’re so beautiful.
[EG] How does it feel?
[DE] God, it’s like, “that’s not me!” [laughing] But it is.
Danielle talks a little about the photos in the exhibit of herself and Boxer Bob in the Mansion and on the Floating Boat.
[DE] Yeah, the photos are of me and the guy I’m with, my fiance. He’s the one that built the house.
[EG] I was listening to him talk a little bit about the boat…
[DE] Oh yeah, the Floating Boat. I actually got mad at him for buying that. He bought it for $100. He wanted to build another house on the water. And he would’ve done it. He hasn’t done any building since then.*
*Presumably referring to the eviction last year.
Top to bottom: Danielle Paints in Mansion Living room, photo by Robin Lasser, 2014; center photo of installations in Refuge in Refuse by curator Barbara Boissevain; bottom image/installation shot taken by Timothy Andrew Photography of “Boxer Bob and Danielle on ‘Escape Dock’ known by Landfillians as Vinne’s Floating Dock,” by artist and curator Robin Lasser.
The exhibition Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art & Culture Project is on view until March 14, 2015.
About the Author:
Elena Gross is a CCA Extern for SOMArts Cultural Center and a graduate student in the Visual & Critical Studies program at California College of the Arts.