A surface is nothing more nor less than the relation between two things. Two bodies touch each other. The surface is the relationship of one to the other. If the surface be regarded as a medium lying between bodies, then it will have no weight, but be a powerful means of transmitting vibrations. (From the book,Tertium organum by P. D. Ouspensky)
Art inspires me to explore how we are connected, the energy/vibrations we pass back and forth. What I return to are old images, faces, and poetry I’ve written - with the influence of icons and symbols (that other-worldly look). My focus has been jewelry, but alongside of that I have been creating images that I thought I would make into jewelry, but never did. I finally realized that they weren't jewelry. I have since been expanding what I do into metal and enamel wall pieces. I want to complete the thought I had a long time ago.
I feel like things want to fall into place, to be what they are supposed to be, but sometimes things in life get in the way, I get distracted. For 40+ years I’ve been collecting thoughts, ideas, images, bits and pieces of art and writing and right now I am watching these bits and pieces converge. I don’t have control over it, they are falling into place and my job is to let them.
I get an image in my mind usually at night before I go to sleep (sometimes while I am asleep) and the next day I create these images in metal and enamel, sometimes they come out like I pictured it, sometimes they take on a life of their own. I start putting pieces together, like a jigsaw puzzle, not really consciously thinking about it – I feel which pieces go together, which colors to use and keep working on it until it feels right. I combine all my senses and create a whole picture that when finished takes my breath away, not because I made it but because it touches something deep within me, reminds me of something; a stillness, an exhilaration.
I cut pieces of copper, or silver, or steel and fit the pieces together. The pieces touch, creating new surfaces together, sometimes they overlap or are crumpled or folded. I enamel the pieces with vitreous enamel that is fused to the metal with my hand-held torch. Because of the size of my torch I have limitations on how big of a piece I can work with, but this doesn’t keep me from making bigger pieces from the smaller pieces, again, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes I use stencils that I have hand cut from copper with my jeweler’s saw. Sometimes I embed mesh or wire or crystals into the enamel. Sometimes I fire graphite designs into the enamel. And my most favorite thing to do is to incorporate my old writings into the work, either stamping letters or by using the sgraffito technique or etching or painting the words on with liquid enamels. This combination of imagery and text come from one of my favorite artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat. I find his work incredibly intense, moving and edgy; vibrating with emotion.
What you will find in common in almost every piece I make is the element of time or timelessness; where the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously, where everything is connected. Where you can feel the vibrations of surfaces touching.
Evelyn Markasky lives in Santa Cruz, California, but started her life in an edgy little steel town with a large immigrant population in Youngstown, Ohio. Life in Youngstown was shaped by steel and she is left with the image of the nighttime sky glowing pink from the blast furnaces 24 hours a day. It is this image she has subconsciously recreated in her studio with her torch; heating, soldering, coloring, and melting metal, not quite 24 hours a day, but close.
Markasky is Greek; art is in her blood.
She is the youngest of 3 children born with a pencil in her hand. She was extremely shy and lived on a busy street with hardly any kids her age, so a lot of time was spent staring at the shadows and drawing. Growing up in the 60’s during the Viet Nam war and an era of musical genius and protest, she was given the gift of rebelling and questioning everything. When told she couldn’t do something a certain way, well that was the first way she’d have to try it. Early on she was fascinated by images of her face, at first drawing self portraits and contour drawings almost every day for years and later putting her face on copy machines and using those images in her art along with writing and poetry. A lifelong search of the eternal question ‘who am I’ and ‘where do I come from?’
Markasky spent many of her college years in photo booths, creating images to use for her BFA in sculpture where she incorporated sculpture, jewelry, conceptual art, and comedy – not necessarily in that order. Her photo booth images became a ritual, and an obsession. They have been painted on silk, silk-screened, enameled, painted, traced, computerized, shrinky-dinked, made into a book, sewn, colored, plastered, etched, and finally cut out of metal.
Obsession plays a strong part in Markasky’s work, after all, what is art if not obsession? She had been obsessed with her photo-booth images and is also strongly drawn to images of her mother in her early 20’s. This is a constant that always returns somewhere in her work. She had spent several years doing portraits of old family photos in water color and pastels, but as her children grew up she found herself falling back into sculpture, metalwork, and jewelry. She felt like she had come home. Every bit of new information that she learned in classes and workshops was absorbed into her without any effort. She loved the physical-ness of using torches, hammers, and saws – being able to construct things.
Markasky works in various metals and uses vitreous enamels sometimes for their colors, but mostly as a patina adding texture and an aged effect to her pieces. Her first foray into enameling was torch firing complex formed metal shapes and problem-solving how to enamel them without them collapsing or falling apart. This curiosity eventually led to experimenting by adding and embedding many unusual things into her enamels like foils, salts, glass, steel, wire, graphite… and finding ways to incorporate the images she has been obsessed with for many years. She uses these techniques with her metalworking skills to create artful jewelry and wall pieces.
Growing up Greek meant going to church on Sundays surrounded and immersed by icons and saints. As she grew older, she was equally attracted to Andy Warhol's work. He used big, colorful, simple, and popular images that she was able to relate to -– Marilyn, Elvis, Elizabeth Taylor, Campbell’s Soup, Brillo. She liked the repetitive, production-like qualities, and how it related to her reality; the sense of rebellion and questioning everything. She reflects his influence along with her history of icons, myths, and superstitions. Along the same lines she is strongly influenced by the strong and symbolic imagery of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Oakland Bay area artist, Deborah Lozier taught her how to be fearless when enameling. Fred Ball’s work changed her life with his experimental enameling and ability to create huge enamel works while still working within his physical limitations.
Markasky has had pieces in the Enamelist Society’s traveling exhibitions Alchemy 1, 2, and 3. She has also exhibited in shows with the Northern California Enameling Guild, the Enamel Guild North East, and several online shows with The Ganoksin Project. She was involved with a Flickr group called Ring A Day (RAD) where she made a ring a day for a year. The group exhibited at the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference in Seattle in 2011 and Lark Books has published a book about RAD. She also has jewelry included in the 2013 Lark Book, Showcase 500 art necklaces; Behind the Brooch; Foldforming at 30; and several issues of Belle Armoire jewelry magazine. She received the Jurors Choice award in a Charles Lewton Brain annual fold forming competition. She frequently writes articles about enameling for The Center for Enamel Arts in Oakland, CA.
Markasky has participated & exhibited in many art shows including Santa Cruz Open Studios, Vessel Gallery (Oakland, CA), Studio Seven Arts (Pleasanton, CA) Heidi Lowe Gallery (Rehoboth, DE), Peter Konstantine Gallery (Palm Springs, CA), 1000 Oaks Gallery (Berkeley, CA), Ornamental Metal Museum (Memphis, TN), Xanadu Gallery (Scottsdale, AZ) and the Pajaro Valley Art Council (Watsonville, CA). She also belongs to the Enamelist Society, Northern California Enameling Guild, SNAG, Metal Arts Guild, and Enamel Guild North East.
Now that her children have grown up and moved out of the house, Markasky is learning to play the cello and tap dancing (not at the same time – that could be dangerous). This is interesting because Markasky doesn’t have much natural musical ability or rhythm, but she is having a really good time. You might also see the influence of her ghost-hunting hobby in her work, as well as her interest with art and physics.
As an artist, she is always experimenting, trying to find a new way to work with metal and enamels and exploring her connection and relationship of living in this world.
Where to Buy
Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.