The multi-talented artist Eva Avenue designed our new Holiday Blend label. We’ve worked with her since 2017 and find she has a “joie de vivre” that is contagious. So, we did a Q&A with Eva to learn more about her creative process and what it takes to stay inspired during a global pandemic.
CC: You designed Cafe Campesino’s 20th Anniversary Zine and developed our new Holiday Blend label. You also designed the imagery for Americus Eats. What inspired those designs?
EVA: The Holiday Blend was definitely designed with cooling the planet in mind, literally and figuratively. I felt that right now there’s enough red (heat and rage); an icy blue intimate moment with two snowman friends enjoying a cup of coffee would give a sense of cooling down and calm.
With the Americus Eats banner, I wanted something that popped and captured the spirit of Americus, because the webpage was clean and organized and so the banner had to feel lively and fun, to draw people in once they came to the page.
The 20th Anniversary zine was an extension of a legacy publication I started in 2009 called the Nightly Noodle Monthly, with a signature style for this mix-tape vibe of hyperlocal voices, writing that was satirical/deadpan-honest/self-referencing/journalistic/authentic to an experience, and collaged scenes cut with paint-staking precision. Visit the free Noodle library to peruse-binge random issues.
CC: What inspires your work in general?
EVA: I struggled with this Q for hours and days until my husband said, “It’s simple. You take small details that others don’t notice and infuse them with your sense of magic and wonder. You see each day like how people see Christmas.”
Yeah, OK! I’m in a constant state of inspired living, which I get by prioritizing that my basic and extra needs are met and always challenging myself to go for the next stage of my personal evolution.
Finding genuine, well-actualized people is always a bit of a holy grail for me, too. I find Bill Harris to be one of those people, and any work that I do for this coffee empire comes out, as a result, inspired.
CC: You work in several mediums- oil painting, music, drawing, short videos, collage, coffee painting! – do you have a favorite?
EVA: I actually love making vlogs, and I’m learning Premiere Pro! If I could be a successful Youtuber, and use all my creative skills to make engaging videos, that’s the dream. My other fave is to sing and play electric bass/piano.
CC: How did you learn to work in all of these mediums?
EVA: I took piano lessons as a kid, and had a strict practice regimen; practices turned into riffs and I’d be off on my own writing my own pieces of music that grew out of scale runs or something by Brahams. You know.
I sang in chorus all through school, too.
My parents were painters, so I grew up with studio work and art shows as a backdrop to my life and developed a pretty good sense for what does and does not look good, what does and does not evoke feeling. On one hand I’m a total art snob, and on the other hand I appreciate pure expression from someone with no training. It depends on what eyes I choose to see with, in that moment.
I went to an arts magnet program in high school that was honestly as good as any art university, so in college I didn’t even worry about taking art classes and focused on developing myself as a writer and musician.
CC: When we first met you in 2017, you had returned home from New York to live in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Since then, you’ve lived in Gainesville, Fla.; spent nearly a year in Europe, living in Portugal and Northern Ireland; taken a few cross-country road-trips and you are now living in New Mexico.
Does traveling feed your creativity? If so, how?
EVA: Traveling is so inspiring – anything new to take you out of yourself. When you can’t look at things with new eyes, traveling gives you new eyes. It also expands my creative network, and I like to keep creative relationships alive by catching up in person.
CC: Why did you decide to move to New Mexico?
EVA: Florida’s COVID-19 numbers were high and the state government was being extremely cavalier about the whole thing, and New Mexico’s numbers were low and their governor was putting regulations in place, which I found so relieving; I also used to live here and it feels like home.
I was given a solo art show at Chapel Gallery in St. Pete, and felt I would be better inspired/create better work out in New Mexico. So when I told my husband I was coming out here to paint for 6 weeks, I had a secret vision that I would stay and he would move out here, which is what happened. Now he’s a news director out here and I’m living my best life and working on a film called The Art Show Movie.
CC: Working with you over the years, we’ve noticed you have an unshakeable optimism and a true “joie de vivre.” What have you done to nurture that during Covid times?
EVA: I moved to the Southwest for that free, open feeling.
I am also a homebody. I’ve made the best of it by focusing on what I can do and luxuriating in the peace of mind that is my own company. I’ve slowed down, decluttered my life, and learned new skills in music production, illustration, abstract painting and video production. I’m focusing on the good things I want to happen, which includes a vision board to manifest paying off my student loans in one year with one big fat payment. I video chat with friends, take road trips with my husband, made a lot of new friends this year, met some heroes; bought roller skates and a bicycle. I’m ready for the vaccine, though.
CC: We’ve also noticed that you’re extremely supportive of other artists and love a good artistic collaboration. Is there a particular artist you’d love to collaborate with one day?
EVA: YES! I imagine being in a Wes Anderson film, playing a show with the Dandy Warhols and writing music with Patrick Cleandenim, who I interviewed for my college paper in 2006.
CC: What should we look for next from Eva Avenue?
EVA: So happy you asked, because I’m making a film called The Art Show Movie that replaces an art show that got canceled because of all the shutdowns.
Making this art show into a film that is accessible to anyone on the globe means everyone with an internet connection is invited! I write almost all the music in the film, too, and play a disapproving art critic. Am really really excited to share this with everyone when it comes out in March 2021.
I also have a new French Pop song out called Ce Que Je Veux, check it out!
CC: Finally, we know you’re a coffee-drinker. What’s your current coffee ritual?
EVA: Black coffee. Mr. Coffee brewer for sure. I make a couple pots during the day. There’s usually enough left over in the pot when I go to bed so that when I wake up, I can grab the cold coffee from the night before and drink that before making more hot coffee. I definitely miss my little Italian moka pot cause it smells so strong and you hear the gurgling as the water shoots out the spitter. I mix sweetened condensed milk into my coffee when it’s really strong, but also mostly enjoy it black.
That’s at home. But at a coffee shop? Oat milk latte, nitro coffee, cold brew, or hot Mexican chocolate.
Visit Eva’s [virtual] Studio
See more of Eva’s artwork on her website: https://evaavenue.com/