Many Turkish Airlines EuroLeague stars have diverse interests and talents that they have cultivated when not playing basketball. Inner-View is a series of Q & A's with players about their off-court hobbies and passions. In addition to some serious game, EuroLeague newcomer Jeremy Evans of Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul brought with him a flair for art that goes back to his childhood – and keeps growing!
Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul's high-flying Jeremy Evans is a creative force both on and off the court. He is an extremely talented artist, and hit the headlines in 2013 when he provided a special twist to the NBA Slam Dunk Contest by dunking over a painting that he had created – of himself dunking over a painting! Here, the 31-year-old tells us more about his love of art, and how he plans to take it further when his playing days are over. "After basketball is over, it's what I plan to do – hopefully professionally," Evans told EuroLeague.net. "Just see what I can do and where it takes me. But I really like cars and I love being outside, so maybe auto-paint to combine art and cars. That's probably what I'll try to do."
When did you first start creating art, and how did it happen?
"I've been doing art since I was five years old. I told my mom that I drew a picture but I actually had traced it! It was some kind of cartoon character. She found out, so she made me do it again, freehand. After that I took it as a challenge that I was going to try it out. Like everything else in life, you take it as a challenge, and I found out I was pretty good at it."
When did you realize you had a talent for drawing?
"At school, I guess. In class the teacher would tell us to draw something and mine was different from the other kids – they'd have stick figures and I'd be drawing a full body. From then on it just kept going."
Did you always paint, too?
"I also like street art, so I also look at whatever's hot around the city, wherever I am."
"No, I started off with colored pencils, and I didn't really start painting until high school and college. I wanted to try it because I started visiting galleries and seeing different paintings. I like to go to galleries, especially when I'm travelling to cities that I wouldn't normally visit. But I also like street art, so I also look at whatever's hot around the city, wherever I am at the time."
How far do you want to take it? Maybe become a professional artist when you stop playing?
"Yeah, for sure. Right now it's just for fun, but I'd like to get more into art in the future. At college, it's hard to major in art, especially when you're playing basketball and the time that takes up. But after basketball is over, it's what I plan to do – hopefully professionally. Just see what I can do and where it takes me. But I really like cars and I love being outside, so maybe auto-paint to combine art and cars. That's probably what I'll try to do."
How long does it take you to create a piece of art?
"Everything I've created until now, I've never spent as much time as I would like, because basketball takes up so much time. Some pieces can take months, but most things I've done have only taken a couple of hours because I'm in a rush. I guess it's a habit now."
Tell us about the time you dunked over a painting of yourself.
"You can tell a story, just make up whatever you imagine, and put it on a picture."
"One of the guys on my team at Utah, a coach called Johnnie Bryant, he helped me out by coming up with the idea. At first I was like: 'There's no way I can do that!' Then I started the painting and didn't think I'd finish it, but I got it done just in time. It was fun!"
What do you get out of art? Why do you enjoy it?
"There are lots of things. It's fun, but it can also be stressful! It takes you way from whatever else is going on in your life. And also you can tell a story, just make up whatever you imagine, and put it on a picture, show your ideas to other people that they won't see unless you put it onto paper. I'm not as creative as I'd like to be, but I need more time to sit down, think and pick my own brain. When I've finished playing basketball, that's what I want to do."