Evan Cohen returns with another comic that sees his characters, nature, and animals transmogrify into one another. Formerly based in upstate New York, we last chatted to him about how his grid-breaking illustrations adds an additional narrative to his work. This time, Evan’s moved out to the Midwest from the east coast, and his newest comic Quiet is the result of this recent move.
“I am trying to lead a more peaceful life out here and just focus on working and being happy,” Evan tells It’s Nice That. “The move has brought a new perspective on how to balance my life and what I need to do better myself and, in turn, better those around me,” he continues. His new life is peacefully idyllic, spending time reading and writing about this new chapter in his life. “I thought about the resources we need for survival on a day to day basis, the elements that help us and harm us,” Evan explains.
Being the first comic he wrote after his move, Quiet plays less with the grid-breaking technique. Though it’s still present, it’s not the defining feature of this new comic, serving more as a supporting tool rather than the punchline. Evan introduces new motifs in this work, doing away with his heavy use of halftone patterns and riso-adjacent colours that defined his previous comics. This time, the seas flow turquoise and the sky glows in light warm salomie. Nevertheless, it still feels much like his previous works – still paced by the clever use of shape-shifting grids, still extremely meditative and still transforming people into landscapes.
“I find it easier to place myself into my work when the characters aren’t saying who they are. The work is timeless, meant to convey a message regardless of when it it’s read,” Evan says. The loose narrative, a tale of pastoral life where the main character flows and merges with natural elements, from the sun, sea and warming bonfire, looks back on this peace-finding journey that Evan has embarked on. “I hope [the reader] see themselves in the character and it opens up a new way of seeing the world. I hope they are inspired to make work of their own and see that just by recording life, you are making art,” he says.
Sparse with words and rich with symbolism as usual, Evan talks us through his process of producing the comic’s visual flow. Aiming for simplicity, he wants to make things as simple as possible, using as little as possible to get the viewer to understand his idea. “Breaking things down into their simplest form, the viewer can just about recognise a figure or a mountain range, the sun, waves, a flower or a reflection,” he says. “Symbols and shapes carry power and can say a lot without telling you outright. Layer by layer they all come together for a finished image.”
“We care for the ones we are close to, show them affection and interest, connect with them and provide them in the same way you provide for yourself. We survive and hopefully find peace before it is over,” Evan says. In turbulent times filled with doubt and uncertainty, it’s certainly important to take a step back and think about what’s important to you, and Quiet is certainly a piece that looks to inspire us to do just that.