Q+A With Eve Adams

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Together, Apart is a community project by Eve Adams and funded by our Covid-19 Resilience Funding. Eve has been passionate about using her creativity to work with the community for many years and is the creator of Balley Cashtal Beg, a fairy door art trail in Castletown. Eve has also been instrumental in the revival as Castletown over the past few years due to her work with the Commissioners and the Creative Network's annual Art Festival. We caught up with Eve to tell us more about Together, Apart and what lockdown has taught her. 

Q. What is your background in the arts?

I graduated with a first-class honours degree in Sustainable design and Practice in 2004, which really cemented the importance of sustainability in design and that has remained as a priority in my work ever since. I’ve always been involved in the arts on a personal level, it’s only in the past few years, and through much effort, that I’ve been able to make it my professional practice, albeit still only part-time. I’m a true mixed media artist with experience across the board, though my main focus has ended up being illustration through involvement in various projects.

Q. What inspired 'Together, Apart'?

I wanted to commemorate the unusual times we’re living through right now, and the wonderful way our unique Island community has dealt with the unprecedented challenges we’ve faced.

Q. Who is this project for?

The whole Island, everyone can take part! Anyone can add their design to a template and see their art-work on public display for years to come. The more people who take part, the more interesting & complex the final piece will be!

Q. You’re well known, particularly in the south of the island, for your involvement with many community art projects such as Balley Cashtal Beg, creating a Wallabies Gone Wild sculpture and the Creative Network’s annual Art Festival to name just a few. What lead you to be so passionate about driving and encouraging community art?

I truly believe that creativity, and having opportunities to be creative, are of vital importance to the health and wellbeing of both individuals, and communities. In creating community projects such as Balley Cashtal Beg & ‘Together, Apart’, I hope to allow people to feel more connected with their immediate environment, and take ownership and pride in their surroundings. Towns and villages with lots of accessible creative opportunities and collective art projects, are cleaner and more vibrant, with fewer incidences of littering and vandalism, and although not as big an issue here as in the adjacent isle - less crime and anti-social behaviour too. I love my town, and I love the Island, I love to see it celebrated in all kinds of different ways!

Q. What are some of the challenges that you face as a professional artist and how do you overcome them?

Earning a living in the creative industries has always been a challenge as they’re often systematically undervalued, which is very sad! Balancing client expectations with pricing, and negotiating fees is my personal nightmare. Art is valued so differently from one person to the next that it’s hard to know where you stand, and how you’ll be received in different situations, which can take some getting used to and be a huge source of anxiety. I can’t say I have managed to overcome this, talking to other artists helps a lot but I think it’s something I’ll always struggle with.

I find it hard to balance my time too, I spend far too long on my community projects really, when I should be making saleable work or seeking new briefs! It’s unfortunate that life is so expensive! The Covid resilience funding I've received for this project from the Isle of Man Arts Council is brilliant for me as it’s allowing me to really focus on a true community project without sacrificing myself for once!

Q. How did lockdown affect your creativity? Did you find it easier or harder to be creative during this time?

Initially, I found it hard to find motivation. Usually I have lots of projects on the go in various states of completion, but during lockdown I found it really difficult to get going. I found it helpful to set myself smaller, individual pieces or tasks and work on them until completely finished. It helped me to stop procrastinating and gave me the impetus to start some larger projects. Once I got over this initial slump, I found myself feeling very free and creative. Without having to check my calendar every day and fit in all the usual meetings and committee work. I found I had time to play around again and I ended up making some pieces that I was very happy with, including some print making, a medium which I've always loved but long neglected. It helped me remember that my own creativity needs space and time to be on top form.

Q. Art is a great tool for communicating and encouraging discussion. What kind of conversation do you hope this project is going to bring up?

I’ve asked those who participate to focus on the positives they experienced, and the things that helped them during lockdown, so on a basic level I hope it serves to illustrate what we learned about ourselves, and what new experiences we discovered throughout the unprecedented situation we found ourselves in. I hope it will act as a reminder of our resilience, and also how dear we hold our freedoms and how much we missed them when they were gone.

Q. What is next for you?

Who knows, hopefully lots more work! I’m currently working on a few freelance projects, including a set of illustrations as part of Culture Vannin’s #treisht2020 commissions, which I’m very excited about. I’m about to start fundraising afresh for Balley Cashtal Beg as I need to print another map leaflet run, so I’ll be pushing the existing merchandise as well as creating some more, and also looking for sponsors. I’ll be working with Craftworks studio to create some more fairy dwellings, so keep your eyes peeled around Castletown for the annual re-vamp, there will be lots more doors appearing and other features too!

Another big event on the horizon will be the 2021 Art Festival. Obviously we had to cancel the 2020 event, which was a huge shame as we had plans in place to expand the festival to span 3 weekends in May for the first time. The festival always creates great opportunities for our member artists and I was really looking forward to helping it to expand in new directions. We’ll be back with a bang in 2021! Related to the Art Festival is the Silverburn Art Trail, another project being developed by the Creative Network which I am helping to implement. This project has been a slow burner, with lots of complications along the way, however I’m determined to keep on with the slog until we have a cohesive, accessible art trail! It will be launched over the summer with some very exciting new sculptural work going on display around the Silverburn.

Q. Where can we find out more about the project/contribute?

All the info you need to join in with ‘Together, Apart’ appears on the template sheets (below), grab one and get creative! You can pick up sheets from HBN Library in Douglas, and Castletown Library. You can order bulk sheets for your organisation or family from the Facebook page, or website given below. More collection & drop off points will be added soon, so keep an eye on the pages! I really need the whole Island to join in – it’s not just for kids, it’s for everyone! As more sheets get submitted, I’ll be posting them on the pages so you can see how the final piece is building.

Together, Apart

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TogetherApartIOM

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/togetherapartiom

Website - www.eveadams.art/together-apart

Eve's Artist links

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/paintandthimble/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/paint_and_thimble

Website - www.eveadams.art

Balley Cashtal Beg – The Castletown Fairy Door Trail

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/balleycashtalbeg

Map - https://www.eveadams.art/balley-cashtal-beg-maps

Website - https://www.eveadams.art/balley-cashtal-beg

Creative Network

Website - http://www.creativenetwork.im/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/creativenetworkiom/

A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government