I had heard Detour’s name around Denver, and I knew he had recently written a book for artists. You don’t forget the name of an artist who goes by Detour.
After the encounter with the mural, I started seeing Detour’s name in more places.
Maybe it’s another mural, every bit as impactful as the one I watched him paint. Or there’s an article. Or he pops up on the local news.
He’s everywhere. Not just Denver. He travels to communities all over to paint murals, but he also works on canvas, and in music, installation, and sculpture.
In this episode of The Art Biz, I talk with Detour to find how he does it all. By himself and without an assistant.
We discuss his various income streams—prints, murals, corporate sponsorships, and grants—and why he doesn’t want to be limited by what he currently knows.
To that end, he’s learning how to use new technologies that will help him land complex opportunities requiring new skillsets. He’s not afraid to discover that the best way to approach an artistic problem is something he hasn’t done before.
Detour is big on collaboration and presenting himself in the most professional light. He says, “You never know who is watching.”
I encourage you to listen closely to the questions he asks himself before agreeing to take on new work. Good stuff there.
- Carving out new and alternative paths in the art world. (5:00)
- Merging your career skills with your creative opportunities. (9:09)
- How Detour found his artist voice while creating interactive art ‘for the people.’ (11:40)
- Detour’s active and passive income streams. (17:22)
- Planning for sporadic paychecks in advance. (22:15)
- How Detour’s MBA has benefitted his artist endeavors. (25:38)
- The importance of building relationships with everyone in your artist community. (28:09)
- Collaborating with other artists to add value to your work. (32:24)
- Questions to ask when considering—or turning down—opportunities. (34:53)
- A look at Detour’s typical week. (37:05)
- Finding fun and balance in the work of every day. (40:18)
- Why is it important to be an artist who helps other artists?(44:44)
Detour talks contracts and licensing artwork.
- “I want to make sure when I’m presented with an opportunity to solve an idea creatively, I’m not limited by what I’m used to doing.”
- “You never know what will work until you throw something out there and it sticks.”
- “When you do art you never know exactly who’s looking at it.”
- “Everything I do in life is related to art making and sharing.”
Willie Cole collaborates with name brands and insists on enjoying life and work.
Advocating for artists in their communities with Louise Martorano.
Leisa Collins reveals an unusual path to finding art commissions.
About My Guest
Thomas Evans, a.k.a. Detour, is an all-around creative specializing in large scale public art, interactive visuals, portraiture, immersive spaces, and creative directing. His focus is to create 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. 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 approaches—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.
Follow him on Instagram @detour303