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Jim Evans

Surf Artist

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Jim Evans

Malibu, California

Born in the 50s, and raised in Southern California, Jim Evans attended Oceanside High School, and was at the epicenter of the burgeoning surf-mania explosion. With such local stylists as Phil Edwards and L.J. Richards to inspire him, he became a fixture at the Oceanside Pier. He bought his first surfboard from Don Hansen. In the evenings he played lead guitar in a psycho-surf band, also doing all the graphics and poster work for the group. During the day he surfed Oceanside, Tamarack, Swami's, Cardiff Reef, Beacon's, and made regular trips to Baja (even managing to spend the night in the Tijuana jail). As a member of the Tamarack Surfing Association, Evans competed in local surf contests.

In the late 60's Evans attended both Cal Arts and the Art Center College of Design. Moving to Santa Monica he hooked up with Rick Griffin, who had recently left Haight-Ashbury and relocated to the old Venice Pier area. Griffin was reconnecting with his surfing roots, and took Evans on as his understudy, giving him advice, and setting him up with commissions -- in between they took numerous surf trips up and down the coast. Griffin introduced Evans to John Severson of Surfer magazine. Severson had an idea for a surf-based underground comic, Tales From The Tube, that he planned to include in Surfer magazine. Along with Rick and Jim, the illlustrators included Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, and Spain Rodriquez, all of Zap Comix fame. In his spare time Evans painted dozens of boards for Bing and served as a test pilot for experimental surfboard designs by shaper extraordinaire Mike Eaton.

Tiring of the west coast, Evans grabbed his family and moved to the North Shore of Oahu. He spent two years living on the beach at Turtle Bay, regularly surfing Sunset, Pipeline, Gas Chambers, Rocky Point, and Velzyland. During his time on the North Shore he did surf posters for Hal Jepson's 'A Sea For Yourself' and Bud Browne's Going Surfin' series, as well as the iconographic Australian surf pix, On Any Morning and A Winter's Tale. When not doing surf commissions, Evans did regular rock posters for the Crater Celebration concerts and bands like Santana and Little Feet. Evans also worked for the local ad agencies to create work for mainstream clients like Hawaiian Airlines and Dole Pineapple.

Evans returned to California in 1973 and began to do record sleeves and film posters, while contining his relationship with Surfer and Surfing magazines, he did numerous illustrations for both. In collaboration with Mike Doyle, Evans did a marketing campaign and illustrations for Wax Research. He also contributed regularly to Skateboarder magazine and was comissioned to do the entire Cadillac Wheels campaign. A meeting with Dean Torrance of Jan & Dean fame led Evans to do the art for their revival album, Dead Man's Curve, as well as a compilation of classic surfing hits called Golden Summer. In collaboration with Dean, Jim also did the art for the Beach Boys albums, 15 Big Ones, and Live in London. At the same time, Jim created a logo for The Beach Boys that they continue to use today. This, in turn, led to the commission to create a logo for the band, Chicago. The list of album jackets Evans did includes; Alice Coltrane, The Robby Kreiger Band, The Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Beck, Beastie Boys, House of Pain, Slayer, and Toto.

Settling in Malibu in the early 80's Evans got involved in the film industry, doing the poster and title sequence for Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps, as well as posters for John Carpenter's seminal genre picture Dark Star, and the legendary samurai slasher film Shogun Assassin. A transition into fine arts led Evans to a series of limited edition pop portraits of such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Sly Stallone, Madonna, Bob Dylan, and future governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Living in Malibu allowed Evans to continue his lifelong addiction to sun and surf, hitting Malibu, Topanga, and County Line regularly.

At the close of the 80's, Evans returned to his roots in rock music. Under the moniker, T.A.Z., in collaboration with his son Gibran Evans and silkscreen master Rolo Castillo, Jim turned out hundreds of limited edition rock posters for bands as diverse as U2, Jane's Addiction, Oasis, Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, Green Day, and Metallica.

Wanting to spend less time at the drawing board and more time in the water, Evans started a digital design company called The Big Gun Project, a loosely organized, electronic commune made up of artists, designers, writers, and computer programmers. The Big Gun Project produced over fifty major motion picture websites, among them: Men in Black, Tomorrow Never Dies, Seven, Jackie Chan's Rumble in the Bronx, Psycho, The Mummy, The Big Lebowski, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, done in collaboration with director, Terry Gilliam. The Big Gun Project won every major online award during its existence.

The Big Gun Project reformed as The Independent Project, primarily to design and implement former record executive Al Tellers' Atomic Pop music presence, with Evans as the executive creative director for the online label. Atomic Pop created sites and developed online releases for Chuck D and Public Enemy, The Black Eyed Peas, Smashing Pumpkins, and Ice T. When the bubble burst on the dot com era, Evans and his crew joined up with Sony Digital and Yair Landau's brilliant, but short lived online experiment Screenblast, creating a series of viral animated shorts based on Billy Corgan's opus, Glass and the Machines of God.

The 21st century finds Evans with his wife and business partner, Nancy, ensconced in an industrial strength electronic studio, housed in a monument to concrete, steel, and glass in the hills above Malibu. Computers screens fill a docking station-sized console. Across the room, an entire wall is covered with an elaborate home theater screen and sound system, viewed in the comfort of German-engineered seating. Hundreds of action figure collectibles and vinyl toys fill several steel shelves. A seven foot stack of audio and video equipment, a plethora of exercise equipment, every possible video game, and a couple of guitars share the high and wide open space.

Evans now runs the digital design juggernaut Division 13 Design Group, a virtual office space that spans the country from Santa Monica to Brooklyn and all points in-between. Clients such as Sony Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Lionsgate, Fox, Universal, and Paramount regularly send him web campaigns for films, including Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Hellboy, Shrek, Dreamgirls, Flags of Our Fathers, the SAW series, and more recently, Ice Age 3 and Monsters vs Aliens.

Nowadays any decent swell will find Evans sharing the early morning lineup at Malibu or Topanga with the locals. Then rushing back to his electronic bunker to go to work before the phone starts ringing.