About 20 minutes into our conversation in his new East Wenatchee art gallery, Ron Evans stopped talking mid-sentence and moved quickly to one of his creations standing against a nearby wall.
“That’s embarrassing. I didn’t turn my robot on.”
Evans makes robots. He also makes paintings, and music with his band, The Bloody Oranges, and a weekly paranormal podcast called “Tales from The Spacepod.” He’s published a graphic novel about a floating, disembodied skull on a confused quest through the afterlife, and he recently launched his own art magazine, called RadarStation. That’s also the name of the new gallery, opening for the first time with a reception Friday night.
“I’ve become this crazy workaholic,” the 39-year-old artist said. “Somewhere along the line I came across the phrase ‘fake it til you make it’. I wanted to be an artist so I just kind of became one.”
In all of this artistic output is Evans’ obsession with Cold War-era pulpy sci-fi comic book aesthetics. It’s there in his robots and the paintings in his “Survivors of the Atomic Apocalypse” series — images of creatures twisted from old Spam tins and other scrap yard relics. And it’s there in his podcast, too, which frequently focuses on government conspiracies and B-movie monsters.
“Tales from The Spacepod” is a funny, raunchy, gleeful program about monsters, spacemen, robots and whatever else Evans and his three co-hosts feel like talking about. Discussion on a recent episode covered shapeshifters, lizard men, killer slugs, dire wolves and ghost dinosaurs — tackled with varying degrees of earnest belief and complete incredulity (“You can’t kill a ghost T. rex!”).
The podcast is more successful than Evans ever imagined, celebrating its 200th recording this week with a “booze-fueled and fun” episode. It is downloaded a couple thousand times each week by people on all seven continents. “That’s pretty good for nobodies,” Evans said. He has received fan emails from an evangelical Christian man and a teenage girl who herds sheep in a remote African village, and he says the podcast is “huge in England.”
“I don’t know if we have a demographic,” he said. “I think funny is funny.”
For the past few months, Evans has been busy preparing for the RadarStation Gallery opening tomorrow night. The first floor of his house had been abused by a former tenant, an elderly woman who owned dogs and cats and who was “slowly destroying my home.” So Evans gutted the place, painted the walls and laid down laminate flooring. The results are impressive — a clean, sparsely curated room in front, with more art and a rack of books and magazines for sale in a back room.
“I’m dying to show it off,” Evans said.
The RadarStation Gallery will be a showcase for works of pop surrealism — hyper-realistic images set in outlandish, fantastical ways — like Evans’ Spam tin-as-post-apocalyptic insect, a creature called “Spam-o-cede.”
“The idea behind it is that in a parallel universe we didn’t make it out of the Cuban missile crisis,” Evans said. “After the atomic dust settles, the last vestiges of life come crawling out of the ocean and inhabit all of our junk. Like hermit crabs.”
His own work is up in the gallery this month. In May, the gallery will feature the work of local artist Chad Yenney.
“This is kind of our beta,” Evans said. “I have no idea what to expect. I know it’s strange for people to come out to somebody else’s house, but I want people to just think of this as a fancy garage sale for art once a month.”
If you go
What: RadarStation Gallery opening reception
Where: 2201 Grant Rd., East Wenatchee
When: 6-9 p.m. Friday
Cost: by donation