Before Brooklyn-based Eve Devore was drawing owl portraits as a full-time artist, she was an engineer. Eve was born into a family of engineers in Ukraine, and her family owns an engineering business there. While she was always interested in art, she was told to keep it as a hobby. She pursued engineering in school and in her early career. She was always encouraged by her mother to do art, but never to make it as her full-time job.
Pursuing engineering was a very difficult experience for her because she hated the subject, but she tricked herself to love it and made it interesting so she could enjoy her time in school. Eve also spent time in fashion as a top model (catwalk) before pursuing her masters. She started working as an engineer during her masters, and found it extremely boring.
Eve was inspired to pursue art by her mother, who had always wanted to be an artist. “She was the person who rooted my love for creativity in general, since she’s an artist herself, but chose an engineering job as her career.” She challenged Eve to find happiness in her drawings and see beauty in the simple things. “I’ve have been creating as long as I remember myself, it has always been a very important part of my life, a way to create my own reality and express myself. But seemed like I’ve never learned how to truly portray happiness, instead my paintings fell into the more dramatic and emotional side.”
In 2012, Eve jumped on an opportunity to move to New York, “You know this feeling about New York, when you come here, you can start your life from the blank page, following your dreams and try to make them into reality, like in the movies. I had the exact feeling as I was packing my belongings into a suitcase and going to airport.”
“When I came here, I felt excited and lost at first, since I didn’t want to continue my engineering path and found myself on crossroads of should and must. I decided to take a chance and to pursue what I deeply love – creating art.”
She struggled to find a foothold at first, but her loved ones encouraged her to pursue her love of art. As she started thinking about where to start, she sat down and drew an owl. Frida Kahlo was the first person Eve owlized. She chose Frida not only because she was one of Eve’s favorite artists, but because Frida is able to tell deeply personal stories using her art. Everything suddenly aligned, and Eve got hooked on owlizing people, emotions, and moods. It gave her a perfect canvas to tell stories with her art. Most importantly, she learned how to paint happiness, and make people smile and feel inspired by her creations.
Eve’s first challenge was finding a way to make her art sell-able, and turn it into a business without any prior business experience. She decided to go with the prints of her artwork first. She had to figure out everything on her own (with the help of her husband and friends, and plenty of trial and error), and even needed to train a print shop how to correctly print her work. Working from home was also a challenge, because instead of working when and where she was inspired, she was forced to stick to a schedule and work inside.
“Being your own boss allows you to work from every place you’d like, but since I need to have a certain set up for my paintings, it limits it to being glued to the table for long periods of time. Also when you work for yourself your working day actually never stops, but you can treat yourself to a Monday off from time to time.”
Her parents were initially very stressed about her choice to leave engineering. After seeing her work covered in Metro News and Cosmopolitan, her father finally understood that she was successfully building a career with her art work.
She chose to use owls because she considered them wise and interesting. “I’m fascinated by owls, they are magical creatures and I can’t really explain why I chose them. It came by itself.”
Eve writes stories to reflect the personality of the owl, so the person buying it can find a bit of him or herself in the story and the artwork. After painting Frida, she followed up with other individuals such as Albert Einstein and Salvador Dali, as well as iconic New York symbols, specific emotions, and seasons.
The Einstein owl was inspired by her husband, who called for more male-targeted owls. It was an instant success. Eve recalls talking to a physicist at the art market and having him study it for five minutes before concluding all of her formulas were correct. (Eve was formerly an engineer, after all!)
Some of the owls are famous and inspirational personalities, some of them are certain emotions or moods, put into owl shape through colors and patterns. They are all in bright, lively colors that express the people and things she is trying to represent. Regardless of the subject, the goal is to celebrate unique human personalities and help people to bring joy into their lives. For Eve, it’s something that she must do.
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For more information visit www.evedevore.com.
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