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Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

Highlighting Local Black Artists: Good Trip Gallery

Highlighting Local Black Artists: Good Trip Gallery

If you ever walk through downtown Raleigh and see a man filling a large canvas with vibrant colors, chances are you’ve stumbled upon the creative haven of the owner of “Good Trip Gallery,” Chris Evans. The canvases of this local Black artist serve as captivating windows into narratives that reflect the spirit and diversity of our community. As we delve into Goodtripinc, we unravel Evans’ creative prowess and threads of inspiration that weave through each brush stroke, painting a vivid tapestry that resonates with the heart of Raleigh’s cultural landscape. 


How did you become or begin your artistry?

“I always tell people that I don’t ever remember not being an artist, so, I don’t know how I began, but I’ve been doing art since I was super young in first grade. And then, around middle school or high school, people (family, friends, and teachers), started buying my art. So it turned from a hobby into a bit of a side hustle, and then after I graduated high school, it turned into how I made money and a living. So, I’m still kind of doing it the same way I was doing it when I first started, I’m just doodling on a larger scale and people buy my art.”


Can you share the story of your artistic journey, from when you first started to owning your art exhibit?

 “In high school, I started tattooing and painting much more than drawing. Tattooing took over most of my time because it made me the most money, so I spent [a lot of] time tattooing in my early 20s. I opened a shop, and then the shop provided enough money for me to go back into artwork. So that’s where I am now. I opened the gallery three years ago here in downtown Raleigh.”


How do you see your art contributing to the larger narrative of Black identity and history?

 “I like my art to inspire freedom. Creativity has no boundaries, and it encourages people to take risks, not necessarily just in art.” 


Are there specific artists, movements, or cultural elements within the Black community that have inspired or shaped your artistic style?

 “I get inspired by almost everything, in every moment, so it’s hard. I do have artists that I like-I like this artist named Kehinde Wiley, he’s a Nigerian artist, and another named Caleb Peterson from Oklahoma. So, I want to get inspired by other people’s artwork, but I’m just thinking now, I was encouraged by you. I am taking the initiative to send that message to reach out to do the interview. You, being younger, Black, and reaching out to me, puts a spark in me. [It] lets me know that I need to do the same thing and I need to push the line.”


Can you discuss any challenges you’ve faced as a Black artist and entrepreneur in the art industry and how you’ve overcome them?

“The challenges I face the most are being lazy or being distracted and not being disciplined: the challenges are becoming a better me. I’ve overcome them by trying to be a little bit better each day, like trying to chip at the ultimate goal.” 


Can you elaborate on your artwork’s cultural symbols or themes and their significance within Black culture?

“I say a lot of Black people. Black historians [and] a lot of people inspire me in some type of way, like Maya Angelou showing her courage, and people like J. Cole and Kendrick [Lamar] [as] creative monsters.” 


How do you incorporate your personal experiences and stories into your artwork, and how do you hope they resonate with others, particularly within the Black community?

“I paint how I’m feeling at the moment. If you see some of my more edgy, darker, or gloomy paintings, that might be where I am. And, of course, vice versa; this colorful, bright, beautiful, lovely painting might be how I feel now.”


Your exhibit seems to celebrate diversity within Black culture. Can you share your perspective on the importance of showcasing the Black experience in the art world and beyond?

“It’s important always to see somebody like us creating in whatever way. [For example] This is a picture of my niece.

 I love that she loves this painting, and my art inspires her to be an artist and creative. The most essential part is inspiring people, especially those who look like us because I couldn’t just pull up on a Black artist and talk to them growing up. I want to inspire other younger Black people to create.”


What do you want to do to inspire artists from underrepresented communities?

“I want to curate any event on a Sunday where I have an open area with tables and easels with canvases-just all types of creating stations. Everything is taped up on the walls and floors as I envisioned it. I want parents to be able to drop their kids off in this creative station and let them create without any direction. Access to supplies to get your creative ideas out is a significant barrier for kids. Most kids aren’t going to grow up with acrylic paint or anything to create past a pen or pencil, but that would be my idea of giving back, to start an annual creative bash for kids. Another idea is to create creative packages for kids, like how people give out turkeys and everything. I would like to give out an artist kit with all [the] supplies they need for at least a month.”


How do you think art education can contribute to empowering marginalized communities?

“Almost [how children] have full access to sports, they have full access to the whole art world. That alone is inspiring. I’m ensuring I’m accessible to a younger generation and the art world is exposed to them somehow. I may or may not be able to do it for the school systems, but I could do it through those annual events.”


Are there any specific stories or meanings behind some of your notable artworks and tattoo designs?

“This painting is of the first Black supermodel in the 1940s and 50s. Her name is Danielle Luna.”


I found this picture because I was designing a tattoo for a girl and looking for a particular woman with her body flowing a certain way. So, she was just a reference picture. I stumbled upon it, and I loved it so much that I ended up hanging it the next day. This is some Black history that I just stumbled upon. She was before Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and all we know about. [Another]piece above that [is] J. Cole. I have been a J. Cole fan forever. I painted this picture with Forest Hill Drive around 2015.

I had this painting in my truck and pulled up at his basketball gym to play. I was playing in a basketball league, and J. Cole and I just happened to be on the team. So, while we were playing on the court, I told him I had a painting of my truck that I wanted [him] to see after the game. He was like, ‘For sure, I’ll pull up outside as soon as we finish up,” and he did. He grabbed the painting from my truck. We took pictures, interviewed him for 10 minutes, and asked him questions. It was a dope moment. That was my proudest celebrity moment. 


The journey of Chris Evans and his artistic venture, “Good Trip Gallery,” is an inspiring narrative of creativity and the transformative power of art within Raleigh. From the early days of selling art in high school to becoming a thriving entrepreneur and gallery owner in downtown Raleigh, Evans exemplifies the dedication and passion required to turn a childhood hobby into a flourishing career. It was a pleasure to delve into his artistic journey and the cultural influences and personal experiences that breathe life into his vibrant canvases.

The Raleigh community can not wait for what Evans has in store to inspire the next generation of artists, particularly those from underrepresented communities. His desire to break down barriers and provide access to artistic expression reflects a genuine dedication to empowering marginalized youth and fostering a sense of inclusivity within the art world. Moreover, his focus on showcasing the diversity within Black culture through his gallery exhibits underscores the importance of representation and inspiration for aspiring artists who, like him, may not have had immediate role models.

Beyond his artistic prowess, what stands out most is Chris Evans’s kindness and approachability. His willingness to share his experiences and insights in conversation is inspiring. Evans not only creates stunning works of art but also contributes to the cultural fabric of Raleigh by being a mentor and advocate for creative expression. As we witness the evolution of “Good Trip Gallery,” we anticipate its continued impact on the local art scene and the broader community, thanks to the unwavering spirit and kindness of its visionary founder, Chris Evans.


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About the Contributor
Aeiress Stancil
Aeiress Stancil, Arts and Entertainment Editor
(She/her) Aeiress is a senior and was on the Eagle's Eye staff for two years. This year she will be returning as the Arts and Entertainment Editor. Her hobbies include meeting new people, listening to music, taking naps, feeding her shopping addiction, Cheer!, and long walks on the beach. One of the main reasons she joined newspaper was to enact change and empower in her community.
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