Born in Georgia, spending her middle and high school years in the Boston area, Alexis Evans couldn’t wait to travel and experience the world. In 1967, only eighteen years old, she arrived in Hawaii to begin her adventures. It was at this time that she first picked up a paintbrush, but in her words “I only made mud” and thus she assumed she was not gifted as an artist.
While traveling for a year by herself through the exotic South Pacific, Bali, Singapore, and Malaysia, Alexis twice found herself bedridden with a serious medical problems. For the first time in her life, she experienced a forced rest. She no longer felt invincible and in total control of her health and well-being. Humbled and vulnerable she returned to Hawaii where she experienced a profound spiritual awakening. Within a couple of years she met and married Rod Wilson. Soon they were off to a live in Kenya for eight years with their two small children. Alexis fell in love with Africa: the place and its people. But Hawaii called her family back in 1985. Suddenly, after her being back for only five days, Alexis underwent major surgery that required almost a full year of bed rest. It was during this second forced period of rest that Alexis’ long dormant passion to paint rekindled. And now, what before had appeared on her canvas as mud burst forth in vibrant colors. Not only did Alexis pursue her own painting with enthusiasm, but went on to help found the Fine Arts Department at The University of the Nations in Kailua-Kona.
Then after 14 years in Hawaii painting the colorful people and places of the tropics, Alexis was on the move again. It was while living in New Zealand and embracing the Maori culture that her art began to take on more of an indigenous theme. In 2003, anxious to celebrate their shared Cherokee heritage, Alexis and her husband, Rod White Eagle Wilson, moved to South Dakota to live and work amongst the Native Nations of North America. There Alexis sought to honor in her art the Native American culture’s richness of celebrating traditions, as well as their simple joy in everyday life.
In 2009 after a difficult six months in intensive care, Alexis’ husband passed away. Alexis closed the Red Feather Art Gallery and said good-bye to a culture she loved and had sought to honor in her life and her art. Physically and emotionally exhausted, she returned to Hawaii where she experienced her third forced rest. The next year was about being still, contemplating, letting go of the old and waiting for the new. Slowly her mind, body, soul and spirit were restored. And then in 2011, Alexis fell in love with John Russell a photographer from the Big Island that she’d known for over 17 years. They were married in October 2011. Alexis came down the isle on her standup paddle board (see photo). John and Alexis honeymooned in Mombasa, Kenya where Alexis had previously lived for eight years. What a wonderful homecoming for Alexis and her multitude of African friends whom she hadn’t seen in over 27 years!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGCewOh8pvE&feature=related This is a video of Alexis in Shimba Hills doing an art project with the children of www.Ray of Hope Kenya. Their honeymoon continued in Rwanda where John had worked the previous year on Rising from Ashes, a documentary narrated by Forrest Whitaker released in 2012.
Now happily ensconced in beautiful Waimea, Hawaii, Alexis is surrounded daily by nature’s palette of vivid, bold and bright colors. Inspired by her new love, recent travels and emboldened by a little book called Free Play, Alexis has given herself permission to move into exciting new areas of artistic expression. In her own words, she is no longer seeking to impress the market place or make a living as an artist, but rather to live as an artist. Sounds like a fun challenge and quite an adventure. As an established, award winning artist with her art displayed in private collections in many nations of the world, it will be interesting to see in what new directions Alexis’ art is headed.