I met Eaton a few week ago at the Loosely Curated Show held in Downtown Los Angeles. Although we had attended the same school I'm unsure as to why our paths never crossed until now but I'm so happy they did! As soon as I met him I could not contain my excitement, especially after seeing his artwork and learning of his love for the outdoors. Immediately I asked him if he'd like to be featured on the Wanderlust Artist and thankfully he obliged.
Growing up on the outskirts of Sequoia National Park, Eaton finds his inspirations for his practice within wilderness. Particularly the thought of what a landscape had looked like prior to the human touch. While in high school he began exploring the outskirts of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with friends; being dropped off at one part of a trail and picked up days later at another. When he was fresh out of high school he attended a community college where he was studying to be an environmental science major. However, when he started to see what this could mean twenty years down the road, the fact that our earth is dying, he was nervous he might have a mental breakdown or depression. Making has always been in his blood as his father is a ceramicist. When he was in high school he played in bands and loved creating imagery for the merchandise and all things visual. So after deciding environmental science was not his thing he decided to take some art classes at the community college and things really came into perspective.
After moving to Los Angeles for an education in the arts he began having "serious wilderness withdrawal" as he put it. Deciding to take the summers off, Eaton would work as a cave tour guide in Sequoia National Park for four months at a time. During this time he was able to share his knowledge and passion for nature with others as well as collect references for his own paintings.
Describing paintings as "fun, scary, challenging, and empowering" also could describe his paintings. Fun and funky, challenging layers and textures, and empowering by means of color palette as well as hard edged shapes. Eaton's work comes from a very intuitive and experimental space. Although Eaton does not have one particular medium, he tends to work mostly with acrylic on paper or panel. However, mixing mediums and tools helps to expand the range of textures and techniques of the work. Working from the Yondervan can raise questions about storage so recently Eaton has begun drawing, although he gravitates towards painting since there is a freedom of exploration that appeals to him.
So what is the Yondervan? July, 2015 Eaton dove head first into a intimidating yet very exciting adventure. He purchased a van which he named the Yondervan. Redesigning the van has been his most involved project to date. Having no place to return to after a summer in Sequoia, Eaton took a month before his graduating term started to build the van. Therefore, having a place to live when he returned to school. The process was well thought out and researched as he had to install a solar power system, have a functional layout, as well as a specific place for all of his things.
His plan? In a few months he will be setting out on a "creative nomadic adventure across America." With the Yondervan he plans to create his own artist residencies by traveling from place to place while, "seeking out wild and natural spaces to spend time in and create work in response to the environments as well as the people he meets." I asked him what his hopes were for this trip. His response,
"I hope to open myself up to be truly present in each environment I stay. Then to channel that energy into creating art focused on the outdoors in fun and fresh ways. I hope to achieve an understanding of the range of diversity that America is within it's landscape and it's people. I also hope to connect with lots of interesting creative folks. Traveling also seems like a good excuse to have studio visits with artists I like across the United States."
I mean, jeez. Living the dream! His first stop on the list currently is Joshua Tree National Park, although he says that might change. He definitely wants to start in the South West though. Eaton hopes that his work, which celebrates what he finds interesting in nature, will encourage others to explore as well as care for our Earth. Stay tuned, in six months we will be hearing from Addison again but this time with an update of his "artist residency on wheels." Yondervan or bust!
Addison is a 25 year old currently residing in Central California saving up for an epic road trip around the United States. When he's not painting or drawing you can find him writing, playing music, hiking, backpacking, and reading. Most likely not all at the same time.