Art School


Evah Fan, Folksy Wordplay Artist, What’s Your Style?

Artist Evah Fan makes drawings, zines and more in a style that is influenced by wordplay and folk art techniques. She tells visual stories through her interpretation of words she finds tantalizing with their multiple meanings.

AIRED: November 24, 2015 | 0:03:07

-I would say my work often

is kind of flat,

often with characters or little stories

that I make up.

[ Music ]

Hi. I'm Evah.

My last name is Fan, like when you're hot,

you need to use the fan.

Style is something that --

as you get older, it just --

it's just like part of you.

When you put together all your body of work

or, say, even in your closet --

you're like, "Oh, I have so many of this thing and this thing."

And you could just lay it out and see,

like, "Oh, I realize I like patterns," or,

"I like colors."

And they all come to you as clues that you get later.

So the main ingredient of my style

is a big chunk of meat that is folk art.

And then the noodles part part would be wordplay.

And together, they make a perfect dish for me.

I'm attracted to folk art because it's so simple.

You totally read the emotions.

You read, like, what's happening.

They're not so worried

about what it is that they're communicating,

although they are sometimes.

It's almost like a form of diary or just --

It feels really raw and immediate,

and I like that.


So, wordplay, to me, is kind of like toys.

Like how other kids might play with building blocks

or LEGOs or video games,

I'll find words inside of another word.

I'll like the sound of it when I try to pronounce it.

I make up stories from it.

I read a sentence, and you kind of do,

like, the telephone game to the next person,

and by the end, of course, it's like a whole different story.

"Hearing problem" becomes "herring fro plum,"

then "hairy bro bum,"

and "surf job hairy brumble."


English is my second language.

So, when you learn a new language,

there's always, like, obstacles,

and you try to think of ways to help you remember things,

but sometimes it can be quite imaginative or something

if you allow yourself to explore a little bit.

Developing a style is not like grocery shopping.

You can't go in there today

and decide, "Hey, I'm gonna get my style.

I'm gonna get an apple or a pineapple, and that's me."

No. It all happens in retrospect.

Every day for 30 days,

find something or make something that fits in your wallet,

and at the end of the month,

we'll lay it all out and see what you have.

[ Music ]


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