For our first interview of the 2019 Delaware Fun-A-Day, Meredith S. K. Boas talked with mother and son duo Eva Fox and Brayden Terch about how they create art as a family, what makes their “weird hearts happy”, and the power of art. Thanks, Eva & Brayden!
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We like to know how people are connected to Delaware - are you multi-generational residents, born and raised?
We are multi-generational residents Delaware born and raised. I was born at Christiana Hospital on September 27th 1986 and Brayden was born at Christiana Hospital on October 4th 2011. My parents were both born here and my grandparents came here from Poland.
Eva, tell us about your upcoming 2019 DEFAD project "Brought Back to Life" and the special meaning it will have for you and your son Brayden.
My upcoming project is special to me because with each year that I participate in Delaware Fun A Day it teachs me something new about myself. You bring something out that I honestly had no idea I was feeling. And this particular project is about how each day that I allow myself to be open to new experiences and learn new things about myself and my son - it's bringing me back to life. If you compare it to 2 years ago, I was in active addiction and I was dying. On Mother's Day 2017 I quit all opiates cold turkey and this project is going to be about how I came back to life one day at a time and how my son saved my life without knowing it, without it being his job but he did it. Oh we did it.
Eva, how do you feel that your art has positively influenced or impacted Brayden's development as a young artist?
I've always been a little bit strange. I've always liked the sad songs. Halloween is my favorite holiday and my house looks like a costume store exploded in it. I've always been drawn to the macabre and the things that the world shies away from, I was even training to be a mortician for the early part of my twenties. When Brayden found himself also being drawn to those things he looked at me one day and said "Mommy am I weird like you?" and I explained, “Yes you are baby and that's okay!”.
I showed him how to paint, he's a wonderful artist his drawings are life-like and animated and full of personality. The more that we work with him and the more that we let him know that it's okay to do the weird things in life, the more open and loving he becomes. The more understanding and kind he is with people around him the further he goes as an artist. He’s so advanced now because his mind was opened at such a young age and he was given total freedom on how to express that.
Brayden's 2018 project "Watching an Artist Grow" featured pieces that made his "weird heart happy". How does Brayden express that in his works?
It's wonderful to watch him work. He puts things into his artwork that come directly from his imagination. As a child it's a wide, vast, and wonderfully strange so I told him, “Anything you want to paint, anything you want to create it just needs to make your heart Happy” and watching the understanding of that freedom creep across his face was wonderful! He doesn't care about what someone's going to think about his artwork, he doesn't care if it's going to land him a solo show, he just cares that it feels good to make art and he embraces it to the fullest.
Eva, last year your 2018 project evolved from a Halloween piece each day, to anatomical hearts each day. What about the heart ultimately altered your project and captivated your attention?
I had gone to the Mutter Museum in Pennsylvania (The Museum of Medical Oddities) and seeing their display on hearts immediately grabbed my attention because it was so fine and I was able to get so versatile. The amount of things that a person feels thanks to their heart or what they're trying to convey through feelings is so expansive that it was almost overwhelming and it's one of my favorite aesthetics in my artwork.
I have done paintings of a heart as a vase, I have done a painting of the world only condensed into a heart, and I felt that I could make it be anything I wanted it to be and that challenge became something that I immediately connected to. It was weird and strange and beautiful and the different ways that you can connect to it really drew me to it specifically. Just the fact that it could be dark and scary and then the next day it could be something beautiful. Like how at one point my body had two hearts in it, and one day I had to paint about losing my parent, and all things that are supposed to be contained within our hearts. I felt was bursting at the seams.
Brayden, how did you decide on your 2019 project "More than that!".
This is in Brayden's words - Because everybody said how great of a kid artist I was and I wanted to paint something that showed that I was a good artist whether I was 7 and a quarter or if I was as old as Mommy.
What advice would you each give to first time participants?
Brayden says to stick to it because it will seem hard at first but the art show was so cool. To see all my paintings all together made me feel very proud even if some of them weren't very good, other ones were awesome.
And strangely enough I, Eva, give very similar advice. It seems daunting and overwhelming and there are some days where the last thing you want to do is create art. But push yourself through it because looking back you see a chunk of your life displayed. Every emotion, every feeling, every great day, every low day, and you see the impact it has on not just your art and your life, but then for those who get to see it all, it's inspiring and it's a wonderful challenge. And that goes for children my son's age or as he puts it “People as old as his mommy”.
Tell us about how as a family you motivated each other to complete your projects?
Brayden is very steadfast that he would not paint unless I was home with him. He said we were doing this together so every day after school and after homework we would sit down and designate time to paint his projects. Most of the time I didn't assist or help with any technical execution and never with the ideas, I was just there for him to use as a sounding board. If he had any questions on how to do something and to operate the hot glue gun (because I'm a bit of a helicopter mom and will not have my son burning himself).
But because we did this together you couldn't just say “Oh today I don't feel like it, I'll double up tomorrow” you have an accountability between the two of you that if one of you slacks off you feel like you're opening the door for the other one to do so. He says that it's just more fun to paint with Mommy and that he wouldn't have wanted to do this if his mommy wasn't doing it with him.
Where can people check out more of your works?
This is the only public show that Brayden is involved in right now because of his school becoming more intense, he just landed all straight A's with his past report card. Aside from this art show he's already committed to other things, and he is focusing on his school work intensely.
As for me you can catch me at the Oddball Art Hall usually every other month or so. I am frequently showing with the Newark Arts Alliance and you can catch a lot of my work on Instagram under Black Widow Boutique.
Do you have anything additional for us?
Just create even if it's hideous, if it's wonderful, if one day you don't feel like it, just create! There is so much beauty in this world, be a contributor to it. Brayden says spend time with your mom's paint and laugh, because we laughed so much. Also come to his art show he says! He is ever the self-promoter although I have to admit I'm pretty proud of that.
See their work at Delaware Fun-A-Day 2019 March 8-17 at The Center for the Creative Arts in Hockessin, DE!