Two photos side by side: the artist Thomas Evans in a gallery and one of his murals of a black woman

Get to Know Detour—The DAM's Fall 2017 Creative-in-Residence

Thomas Evans, a.k.a. Detour, is an interactive visual artist experimenting with the intersections of art, music, and technology. Detour is the Denver Art Museum’s Fall 2017 Creative-in-Residence. His residency runs October 1 through November 30, 2017.

Detour is a Denver-based creative that focuses on work where art and innovation meet. A born collaborator and “military brat,” Detour pulls from every conceivable experience that shapes his landscapes and perspectives. Explaining Detour’s work is no easy task, as ongoing experimentations in visual art, music, and interactive technologies have his practice continually expanding. Recent projects include:

  • Mural art (look for his work all around Denver) and fine art portraiture
  • Sensor-embedded painting and sculpture
  • DNA-based cultural mapping and photography
  • Touch-activated organics (i.e. musical fruit!)
  • Collaborations with slam poets, DJs, school kids, and beyond

With his ever-evolving approach to art, Detour’s focus is on expanding customary views of creativity and challenging fine-art paradigms by mixing traditional mediums with new technologies—all the while opening up the creative process from that of a singular artist, to one that thrives on multi-layered collaboration and viewer participation.

Thomas Evans with touch activated organics or musical fruit
Detour with touch-activated organics or "musical" fruit. Photo courtesy TEDxCSU

I hope visitors leave with a sense of wonder, almost as if they were seeing magic, but through the lens of an artist.

– Detour

Q & A

To gear up for his October debut, we sat down with Detour to chat about his work and what DAM visitors can expect this fall:

Lauren Hegge: It sounds like your creativity takes so many shapes and forms! What should visitors keep in mind when interacting with your work?

Thomas Evans/Detour: Have fun! I want visitors to enjoy the moment because the interactions with the pieces and performances will be personal and unique to that one experience. It’s something that can't be duplicated or shared by story. The experience will be something that requires physical presence because the visitors will be a part of the piece.

LH: How long have you been an artist? How did you get into this work?

TE/D: I’ve been an artist all my life. I started out painting when I was young and never stopped creating. Over the past three years, I decided to pursue art full-time and it has been a joy creating work day after day. With that constant drive to create, I have come across a ton of ideas that I wanted to bring to life. Interactive art was one of those ideas. I have always been interested in creating work that is touchable but it wasn't until I started creating art full-time that I was able to bring it to life. Now I love creating work that stimulates all the senses.

LH: What excites you most about being the DAM’s upcoming Creative-in-Residence? What do you hope to work on while you’re here?

TE/D: Connecting with people with interactive art in a prominent museum is something I'm really excited about. In a way I think that having a space in the museum where you can be a part of the art will add something different to the experience that visitors have. They will be able to see and get involved in the experiments that will be taking place with many of the collaborators that I will be bringing throughout my time there. Visitors can expect to encounter lots of interactive elements in the space and experiment with sound and musical compositions.

LH: What do you hope people take away from this experience you will be giving them?

TE/D: I hope visitors leave with a since of wonder, almost as if they were seeing magic, but through the lens of an artist. I want them to see how contemporary art can be more than just static ideas but ideas that are able to uniquely expand with a little help with fellow visitors.

LH: How can visitors follow your DAM creative-in-residence journey?

TE/D: The best way to follow the journey is by visiting me in the museum, but in between visits, they are always able to check out the News & Stories page on the DAM website and my Instagram account (@detour303), where I plan to post about my experience weekly.

Beginning October 1, you can catch Detour himself on Tuesdays from 10–noon and Thursdays & Fridays from 1–3 pm or stop by any day to play around in the studio and experiment with materials.

Stay tuned for more details—it’s shaping up to be a wildly creative fall season here at the Denver Art Museum!

Image credits: Photos at top by Matt McDonald

Lauren Hegge is the adult programs coordinator in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. Lauren has been with the DAM since 2013 and is committed to supporting Denver’s creative culture and enhancing the museum’s role as a place of community gathering.

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