Art Instructor Evonne Avalos Nurtures Artistic Passion and Cultivates Creativity

Evonne Avalos, Instructor in Art, has been passionate about creating since a young age, carrying around art supplies since kindergarten. She found her passion for teaching art in the different experiences it brings. 

Avalos finds herself connected to a variety of art pieces, and draws inspiration from her time cataloging painter Lois Dodd’s work. Over time, her understanding and preferences in art have shifted dramatically as well. 

“My understanding of what art could be when I was younger was kind of confined a little bit more to what I knew, which was probably painting, things that belonged in a museum, and artists that I knew in my own life and the work that they were making. But I think that over time, my idea for what art is has really blown up… I’m drawn to artwork that tends to be sort of more maximalist, [with] lots and lots of visual information kind of coming at you, whether it’s sculpture that is very ornate, or spaces that have a lot going on visually that are competing for your attention. I would say in painting, though, I’m kind of drawn to the opposite. I like things that are more minimal,” said Avalos.

At Andover, Avalos teaches Art 225 (Visual Studies), Art 304 (Drawing), and Art 305 (Painting). Avalos finds joy in teaching these introductory courses, enjoying opening doors for students who may have never taken a focused art class prior to Andover.

“The most exciting thing to me about [Art] 225 is there’s this opportunity for folks who have experience in art and folks who have maybe less experience in the visual arts to gain some confidence in expressing themselves through making things, [and] also gaining confidence in feeling like they can access the Addison [Gallery of American Art] or the art community on campus. Then, hopefully, as they take that with them into the bigger world, like feeling that the visual arts is something that they want to participate in or have an appreciation for or are curious about,” Avalos said. 

Avalos’s own art inspiration is spontaneous, driven by a combination of personal experiences and openness to the world around her. She often finds ideas strike at unexpected times, where she will even use speech-to-text to jot them down. This constant search for inspiration has given her many experiences beyond the world of art.

“Art has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone at lots of different points in my life, to try expressing new ideas, but also to move to places and get involved in communities that I might not otherwise have gotten involved with… My biggest inspiration is staying open to how I’m experiencing the world around me [and] experiencing people that I meet… My inspiration mostly comes to me for putting together an artwork or a lesson or something when I’m in the car and driving,” Avalos said.

For students looking to take art classes, feeling self-conscious is a natural part of starting,  Avalos emphasized. She encouraged students to embrace the uncertainty in the process and interpret art in their own individual ways and express themselves, and that in the end, the work pays off. 

“Something that people might face when they start taking an art class is not being sure about their abilities, not being sure if their ideas are strong enough or unique enough… Those are still things that pop up for me from time to time. But, I’ve come to know that by working through it, it pays out. The reward is worth it, in artwork that wouldn’t otherwise exist if I didn’t,” said Avalos.