Evi Antonio's art is a celebration of the intricate details of the natural world. From the wing structure of a five horned rhinoceros beetle to the tentacles of a common lobster, she is driven by the desire to reveal and pinpoint details that might otherwise go unnoticed
Evi embraces new technology to express her vision, combining digitally created artwork with hand finished traditional oil glazing techniques to add intensity and depth. The result is enlarged natural forms that create the same sense of curiosity and wonder that a museum specimen cabinet holds. "Digital painting techniques enable me to work on a much larger scale” explains Evi. “The result is as if we see the subject under a magnifying glass; I want to evoke and share my sense of awe and wonder that these creatures co-exist in our world."
Evi trained and worked as a scientific natural history illustrator for many years. She is greatly inspired by the lithographic plates and hand-coloured engravings of the 19th century which were used to document scientific discoveries of the time. Her creative approach is informed by this combination of professional experience, an almost obsessive eye for detail and a real passion for the traditions of natural history illustration.
Evi sources and collects her own specimens to work from. The first stage of the process is to create the digital artwork. She uses a digital drawing tablet which allows a natural and intuitive painting process. Each artwork can take weeks before it is ready to be printed out onto high quality canvas in the artist’s own studio. Perfecting the print stage alone, is a lengthy and meticulous process to ensure the colours, contrast and quality are just right to work with the next stage.
It is at this point that she returns to her traditional training and picks up a brush. The application of brush strokes, layers of oil glazes and varnishes, sharpen the characteristics and awaken the colours of each specimen further. This stage can take up to a further three days per artwork resulting in the rich quality and original finish to Evi’s work.
This new form of combining digitally created artwork with traditional oil painting techniques allows the final edition to have unique qualities. They are not simply prints but individual artworks presented as a limited edition.