Aug 01, 2010 05:59PM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print
Photos by Dante Fontana
Little did nationally recognized sculptor Phill Evans know that when his older brother Henry gave him a wood carving kit, it would lead to his life’s work.
As a young teen he carved Tiki gods and sold them on a Southern California beach. “I made something with my hands and someone wanted to buy it!” Evans explains. From then on, he was hooked on creating art.
Growing up in the deserts of our state, Evans had plenty of creative time to cultivate an appreciation for rocks. He has collected stones from his 50 years of extensive travels around the globe. “I never take a rock from where I am not supposed to,” he says. He has a love and appreciation for natural things and uses these worldwide souvenirs in his work. Along with stones, he uses bronze, brass, stainless steel and copper in his pieces.
Evans credits two very diverse artists as his inspirations. American sculptor Alexander Calder is credited for inventing the mobile in the early 1930s. The works of the 15th century Italian artist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci who said, “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art,” also moves him. Evans understands that a spirit exists in man, animals and in plants. He effectively reflects those beliefs in his unique and wonderful pieces.
Some of his work depends on kinetic energy (defined as energy associated with motion) for the piece to move. He incorporates rocks, metals, and shards of glass or wood into pieces. He uses this type of sculpture to show that all life is a system of balances. “Life has all aspects of balance,” Evans explains. “My work balances dissimilar things.”
Evans approaches his work like an explorer and develops the concepts as they occur to him by respecting the location where the piece will be placed. His unique public artwork is displayed throughout the United States, and lucky for us, we are able to view his masterpieces here locally. Several of his large pieces are part of the new Palladio 16 Cinemas and mall complex in Folsom. Also, his studio in Fair Oaks Village is filled with wondrous and diverse work. There is something for everyone, such as small whimsical pieces perfect for a personal garden, to huge public art displays. He is open on select Second Saturdays and will participate in this September’s Fair Oaks Chicken Festival.
Evans’ work is for sale in the elegant El Dorado Hills’ Fire and Rain Gallery located in Town Center. Owner Judy Smith has known Evans for years and has featured his work since she opened at its original location in Folsom in 1995. “He has been with me the whole time,” Smith says. His signature river rock pieces are a marriage of science and art. They serve as a mainstay for Smith’s gallery, she says, “He is very collectible.”