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Local Artist Proves Passion Is Paramount

When Evan Campanella was in school, it seemed as if his attention was always elsewhere. “I successfully turned every single notebook from my classes into a personal tribute to spider-man, robots and dragon-slaying women in chain mail bikinis,” he said. Now, the Hicksvillian is a professional illustrator and fine art painter, and although it may seem that the road to getting there was always pointing him in the right direction, he had to overcome several challenges in order to stand proud of where he is today.

“I’d been painting since I can remember,” he explained. “My parents were art students themselves, and although they didn’t pursue a career in the arts, they had painted from time to time. They were culturally- minded and so my brothers and I were exposed to the arts and music at a young age. Hobbies, musical instruments and individual pursuits and projects were encouraged, or at least not entirely objected to.”

With major influences like Jean Michelle Basquiat, Jackson Pollack, Frank Frazetta, H.R. Giger, and David Wojnarowicz, as well as growing up in an environment influenced by art, he decided that art was the route he wanted to go when it came down to picking and pursuing a career. “I studied painting at Nassau Community College and later at SUNY New Paltz. There, I majored in painting, and minored in art history. I actually paid attention and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts,” Campanella said. After that, he went to work at a mural painting and decorating company. “That’s where I really learned about painting,” he said. “I’ve painted murals in restaurants, homes, doctor’s offices and deli windows.  I consider that my Master’s Degree.” From there, he turned to another aspect of art – graphic design – but still took the time to develop and master his skills in painting, his passion from the start. However, several challenges awaited him there.

“One of the greatest challenges was to loosen up.  I would take on wildly ambitious, detailed and elaborate projects. This would lead to an unattainable struggle for perfection. I thought that I could make things perfect, but this was distracting me from my original point; to finish a good piece of artwork. This left me hesitant and stand-offish and ultimately blocked.  I would rarely finish things in that period,” Campanella explained.

Another, he said, was confidence. “Another challenge for me was to have confidence in my abilities. This came with experience. If I didn’t paint something dazzling that night; if I didn’t walk away from the canvas feeling gratified, I couldn’t just put the brush down,” he said.

But, besides personal fulfillment, Campanella was achieving professional success as well, which helped him overcome even his most difficult moments. “One of my greatest accomplishments was when I first sold my artwork.  I sold a group of drawings.  This proved to me that my art is something novel,” he explained.

As for Campanella’s future, he is hoping that art will become his main focus. “The next frontier is self promotion. I really want to get my paintings into a gallery in Manhattan and see how they do. I’d ultimately like to make painting my full-time job. Artistic expression has always been a lifestyle for me, not a hobby. I want to get my artwork out to more and more people,” he said.