Portrait of a Young Man Becoming an Artist

For Evan Sherman, art is about more than colors and shapes on a canvas.

“I approach my artwork as a means to provoke conversation and thought,” he said. “Through art, I am able to contribute to larger dialogs in a language that is accessible and universal. At its most fundamental, I view art as visual storytelling.”

The winner of both the Adam Bertolet Art Scholarship and the Schall Family Best of Show Prize in this year’s art scholarship competition, Evan is currently a freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where he is majoring in painting, with a concentration in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies.

Environmental degradation and the need for meaningful corrective action are recurring themes in his work. In fact, such messaging dominated his art scholarship portfolio. One submitted painting, a strikingly vivid depiction of an offshore drilling rig, was inspired by the massive 1969 oil spill that befouled Santa Barbara’s coastline and gave rise to the international environmental movement.

“I have always found inspiration in the ocean,” said Evan, who attended Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Arts and Design Academy. “I enjoy the challenge of capturing the ephemeral nature of moving water in the permanence of paint.”

Though he prefers oil and occasionally acrylic paint, Evan likes to experiment with glass, wood, and unique surfaces such as reclaimed windows. He aspires to be a gallery artist.

“Times of change are accompanied by societal moments of reflection and the processing of new insights. I see art as a pathway to imbue these insights with lasting meaning,” he said. “I want to build my visual vocabulary and create a unique artistic identity.”