New gallery opens
BAY SHORE—Local photographer Evan Conway recently opened Right Coast Gallery in the downtown area just down the road from where he was born at Southside Hospital. He grew up in Islip and graduated from Islip High School in 2007. Both hamlets have had a significant influence on his work.
Conway has been shooting photos for around 12 years. “I basically spent the first five or six years trying to learn anything I could on my own,” he said. “I did a lot of experimenting and practiced by shooting daily. I enjoyed it so much that it’s pretty much all I’ve wanted to do since. I jumped at every opportunity to try out different equipment or shoot somewhere new, which helped keep it fresh and motivated me to create something unique, or even shoot something old but in a different way.”
Conway then made the move to Santa Barbara, Calif., to attend Brooks Institute, which he described as a “constructive experience,” adding that “the change in scenery and intense curriculum provided some great challenges and opened up new doors” for his photography. “Getting that formal education helped me turn my passion from a semi-professional hobby into my full-on career, and it was in school that I began to acquire a greater appreciation for taking a more artistic approach to my work,” he said.
Before college, Conway was focused on doing freelance work for magazines and companies within the surfing industry. “I sold my work as prints too, but at the time it was secondary,” he said. “While in school, I was lucky enough to get work assisting for celebrity photographers in Los Angeles. Since I graduated, though, art has been my sole focus and that’s where Right Coast Gallery came into the picture.”
Conway’s photos are very scenic. “I definitely like to show an environment in all its essence, but something that I enjoy even more is creating abstract imagery of little details from within those places,” he said. “I find that these macro scenes made up of particular shapes and textures can describe a place just as well sometimes.”
He enjoys all types of art, though, using different styles from which he pulls inspiration and influence. “The great thing about the space at Right Coast is now I can exhibit my own personal projects, as well as collaborate with other artists,” he said.
Conway believes Long Island has been the greatest influence on his work. “We have a pretty unique culture surrounding the water here on the South Shore, and having grown up right in the middle of it, I have always felt compelled to share it with others,” he said.
One thing he enjoys about New York is that Mother Nature has a big hand in determining his shooting style. “I find it very appropriate, seeing that what I shoot revolves entirely around nature,” he said. “Having lived in California, a place that is highly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, I’ve developed an even greater appreciation for Long Island and its relationship with the Atlantic. Something as simple as the changing leaves or that stillness you get when the first flakes of snowfall start to flurry, it all inspires me and influences my work in various ways over the course of the year.”
Having grown up in Islip and spending a good amount of time in Bay Shore, it only seemed natural for Conway to open his gallery where he did. “When I found the actual space, it was pretty much perfect for what I was looking to do,” he said. “I’ve got the gallery up front and the office in the back, as well as enough work space for printing and framing. This was ideal for me because I’m as hands-on with everything as possible, especially printing and framing, too. From my experience, there are a limited number of true gallery spaces in the area. So I felt like Right Coast could aim to help fill that void.”
The artist has traveled to both the east and west coasts for his work, as well as a few times to Hawaii. “I also try to make it down to Puerto Rico every winter, and in the summer I’ve spent some time down in Mexico and Nicaragua,” he said. “At the top of my list of places to go right now would probably be New Zealand.”
A new installation of work will be coming to the gallery at the end of the month. “Right now, there’s a lot of summer portraits,” Conway said. “So I’m looking to add work that fits the winter season.”
Right Coast Gallery is located at 6 4th Avenue, Bay Shore, just south of Tullulah’s. For more information, call 631-665-0690 or visit www.RightCoastGallery.com.
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