Concentric watercolor circles on paper and canvas by artist Evan Venegas on a white brick wall in his studio.

Where are you from and where you do you currently reside?

I was born in Queens, New York and that is where I currently live.

Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to become an artist?

Well, My father is an inspiration to me, he was a very dedicated and respected Latin jazz musician. My older brother started playing music early on in life and went on to becoming a successful music producer. One of my earliest memories is the seemingly rebellious decision to not become a musician, so I decided to be a visual artist instead.

This series is titled Day Maps, what does the name refer to?

I was inspired by the birth of my daughter. I use watercolors, which is a delicate medium, basic shapes, and a subtle use of color to show fragility. I want to show a complete body, while simultaneously exposing the individual parts that create it.

My process was initiated by the daily process of organization and attributing values to specific tasks, life events, and other “emotional data.” I then translated these values into different colors and sizes of circles. The arrangement of these individual shapes, which build a unified piece, represent the process of balancing elements in my life.


Tell us about your mapping process and the journeys you take to create your work.

I start these paintings with a single circle. The first circles are more spontaneous. As I continue working, the circles become more reactionary to the previous ones. I think of this as what happens during the day. Something will happen that sets off an idea or an emotion which then sparks something else and so on. I am optimistic in that I try to find harmony in balancing these things.

How do you integrate mistakes and imperfections into your paintings?

Watercolors are a very unforgiving medium. Once you put a mark down it is pretty much there for good. This has forced me to appreciate the textures and organic inconsistencies in the paint. Since things have become so much more digital and precise, I have a newfound longing for leaving these types of imperfections in my work.

What is your favorite aspect of the artistic process? Least favorite?

I love that I get to lose myself in a meditative process and escape the world. And at the same time I also feel a deep connection to the creative energy of life. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have this outlet.

My least favorite part of the process is the judgement and self-criticism to which I subject myself. Oftentimes, when I finish a painting, I think to myself, “how I should have done it differently?” I know it is an important part of the process to reflect on my work.

A born and raised New Yorker, you moved to San Francisco to complete your BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. How has your time on opposite sides of the country influenced your artistic style and inspiration?

I brought my style of geometric abstraction to San Francisco back in the early nineties. No one was really doing the type of painting I was, so there wasn’t much of a venue for it. I had to create a place for my work to be seen. I did find that in San Francisco people were patient and open-minded. I learned a lot about having a community, and I think living there taught me how to be more open and how to let my guard down.