In Conversation With: Clym Evernden
Having initially studied a womenswear BA at Saint Martins, Clym Evernden has gone on to find fame as an artist with his instantly recognisable style. In bold, thick lines, he captures a sense of movement and immediacy that has lead to a wide range of creative projects with global brands.
From Louis Vuitton to Acqua di Parma or Michael Kors, Evernden has a gift for capturing the essence of each brand in his own signature aesthetic. For the festive season, he has adorned the windows of Frescobol Carioca’s London stores with a tropically festive motif.With the windows thoroughly decorated and admired, we escaped from the cold to catch up a bit more with the in-demand artist.
Having studied a BA in fashion design what prompted the switch to working in art?
I’ve always drawn ever since I was a child, so it’s always something I’ve known I could do and when I was younger it was my way of expressing myself. While I was at college I started doing commissions, I started realising I could earn some money. I was working for Harper’s Bazaar, the Telegraph magazine, the Sunday Times magazine…They were mainly fashion sketches to go with fashion news articles.
Did you find it more fulfilling than creating clothes?
I’m still really interested in fashion design. I absolutely love it, but the process of making clothes is just so complex. You’ve heard this a million times about creatives at fashion college, but I just wanted the end result! All the pattern cutting and knowledge about fabric wasn’t really my thing, or the technical stuff. I still love the industry and I’m fascinated by it, but drawing for me is a better medium to express my vision.
Is there a typical day for you?
Not really! In general I work in my studio, so day to day I tend to be there working on commissions and personal projects, but I love days when I get to go out and work with people on site, or work in a different medium like today, drawing in the windows. It’s always fun for me.
Who are your favourite artists?
I love a lot of the wartime artists of the 1940s, so Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious,Stanley Spencer, and a lot of the St. Ives painters. I also gravitate to the abstract time post-war when things got a bit more experimental.
What has influenced your style most?
I’ve developed myself through working a lot on trying to capture the moment in a spontaneous way. The only thing that really changed my style was when I started using a brush, as I used to use more pencil and charcoal. In general it’s just trying to create a really fluid movement and spontaneous vision via the hand.
How do you think social media has affected the work of the artist?
For me, it’s absolutely vital. I joined Instagram at about the right time I think, around 2013, when it was still growing. It was still an audience trying to find inspiration. It’s very important to me because most of my new clients who don’t really know about what I do discover me there, rather than via my website.
Has it influenced your work itself at all?
I try not to let it influence my work, but subconsciously you notice certain things that are popular and you work on that a little bit more. When I first started doing the folded stories, [pieces of paper that are drawn on and folded outwards to create a story] that was actually an experiment and I didn’t think anyone would get it. That was the most dramatic turning point for me: when people just went nuts for it. It’s really interesting because back in the day you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Before social media you would have just been sending portfolios to people and they would say “oh we quite like this”, but that doesn’t give you any broad vision of what people are into.
What was the inspiration for our Christmas windows today?
It was quite a broad creative brief which was really perfect for me. I think people trust me to understand brands, having studied fashion, so that helps. I was trying to marry the feeling and the idea of Frescobol Carioca with a festive atmosphere. I like it because it’s a bit of a challenge. It’s not an obviously festive type of brand. I like creating things that are a bit more unexpected and abstract and a bit surreal. So the starting point was taking the palm trees which obviously feature in that Brazilian beach landscape and the DNA of the brand, and giving them a Christmas tree vibe, and building up an environment around that.
Why did you choose to wear these Frescobol pieces today?
I love the activewear, and it’s something that I don’t have enough of in my wardrobe. I’ve always wanted a sort of luxe tracksuit, I just thought it looked super chic. There’s something really fun about that.
I like how the brand is very transportive: it takes you to another place, especially around this time of year. I love the idea of travelling during the winter months and getting a few bits together in one of the beach bags and just whizzing off for a weekend somewhere.
What are your favourite winter destinations?
I actually love New York in the winter, I’m not someone that would go somewhere more beachy like the Bahamas for Christmas. I love staying somewhere with an indoor spa and pool and you get that feeling of getting to wrap up warm and go out and visit sites.
How would you describe your personal style in general?
I’ve always liked a mix of high-low: mixing more expensive things with charity shop or vintage things. Basically I have a core look of maybe like narrow skinny dark coloured jeans and a T-shirt and I build around that. Recently, in the last few years, I’ve started going to more and more events, so I’ve learned how to dress up a bit more as well. I like tailoring for that reason!
My style was never crazy, I was quite casual at college. When I was at St Martins there were people dressing in a more extreme way during the ‘electroclash’ era – which I loved to see, but I was always just in a big jumper and skinny jeans. I’m a child of the 90s so I’ve never really lost that grungey vibe.
What other projects are you working on right now?
I love the idea of working with product: the recent Acqua di Parma collaboration I did was a really successful thing and I loved seeing my artwork in three dimensions on the product. I’m doing some things in 2019 that will be using my artwork in a woven way.
The other thing I’m really interested in doing more of is something more like live theatre. I’m a bit of a frustrated actor, I quite like an audience. It’s like a singer or a dancer, you get something from an audience.
Shop Clym’s edit here and head to one of our London stores to see his designs:
47 Blandford Street, Marylebone, London W1U 7HQ
3 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
1 Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2BY