Q + A
the voice of thomas “detour” evans
This month meet Thomas Evans, also known as Detour (@Detour303). As a full-time artist, Detour is always occupied with creating new work for corporations like Netflix + local events like Crush Walls 2019 that happened this month. He also composed a book about establishing a lasting art career to keep on your radar in early 2020 called, Be The Artist. This is the voice of Thomas “Detour” Evans—from advice about living an art-filled life and details on how he’s achieved success.
What’s your background story?
I grew up a military brat, so I moved everywhere as a child. To make friends in every place I moved, I used art as a connecting factor. I eventually became really good at it because I did it so much.
My family eventually landed in Denver, Colorado, where I went to school for business. I was doing arts throughout my entire academic career, so I started to apply what I was learning in business school to my art career. It really wasn’t until I went full-time in 2014, after living in Tanzania, and after Denver started growing rapidly, that I really gained momentum. I eventually found my studio and started making art as much as I could.
Detour comes from a breakdance VHS tape that I purchased while living in Germany. It had the word “Detour” in it, and I liked that. It represents the path less traveled, which is what my career is all about.
How does your studio space spark your creativity?
My studio space is in Five Points. It’s in a building with many other like-minded artists so I’m constantly finding creative inspiration.
Although it’s mostly outside of the studio where I find much of my curiosity. The studio is the place where I bring in those interests that I find and start experimenting like a scientist in a laboratory.
What is your antidote to creative burnout?
I would probably be the worst person to ask that question because my entire day is dedicated to my practice. I integrated like-minded individuals when it comes to the arts and the creative field into my life because it helps me mix the personal and anti-professional areas.
How has your process transformed over the years?
My process is all about mixing two different elements together and trying to make them work. It’s more of my mediums I experiment with and the tools I use that always change and evolve.
They always evolve as I experiment with pushing the boundaries.
Your style is so distinct and recognizable. Can you explain your use of color?
I started using tons of bold colors when I started doing live painting events at night. I was not able to mix colors fast enough, so I use them right out of the bottle. This started to make my work more colorful. I eventually started experimenting more and more with color.
Can you dish out some advice or things you’ve learned as a full-time artist?
One of the most important things about being a full-time artist is to have a defined definition of success. Sometimes you can embody someone else’s definition what a successful full-time artist looks like, but each of our journeys is different.
The second most important advice is to build relationships. Many of the opportunities I am afforded are because of the relationships I have built over the years.
What’s your favorite design-forward hangout spot in Denver?
I don’t really have a particular spot, but I love hanging out at RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Five Points/RiNo.
These days you’re working with big names like Netflix, Sprite and Redbull. To what do you attribute your success?
Most of my success has always been due to relationships, consistency and the willingness to experiment to create something different than other artists. In the end, sometimes it’s really hard to pinpoint what makes someone successful because every journey is different, but we can all end up at the same spot in the end.
Finish this quote: In art, …
If you could recommend any pivotal books, podcasts, blogs, leaders, etc., what would you recommend?
// Bench Talk
// NPR’s How I Built This
// 99% Invisible
// The Artsy Podcast
// The Tipping Point
// Purple Cow
// Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
// Creative Block
// The $12 Million Stuffed Shark