– by Rachel H. Freeman
Local artist Evan Neidich of Fox & Crow Paper Co. makes whimsical creations that bring child-like joy
The Fox and the Crow were Evan Neidich’s favorite imaginary friends to play with in the forest during her childhood. Her vibrant imagination remained with her into adulthood and now, Neidich is the owner and artist behind Fox & Crow Paper Co. – a St. Petersburg-based business that sells art prints, greeting cards, enamel pins, patches, and coloring books.
Neidich’s style of art is whimsical and vivid, blooming with color and radiating joy. The artist enjoys drawing animals, especially foxes, as well as plants, flowers, and other things found in nature.
“The goal of my art is to bring joy to people and help them engage with their childlike imagination,” said Neidich. “The best compliment I get at markets is, ‘Wow, you can’t help but smile when you see this!’”
Neidich is active in the local market scene and enjoys the chance to support small businesses whenever possible. She was thrilled at the opportunity to be the Market Mafia Hit List featured illustrator.
“It makes me feel really good and rooted in the community that an organization like Market Mafia would invite me to be a part of the publication,” said Neidich.
Creative roots and big dreams
Since she was a little girl, Neidich has always been an artsy soul who finds joy in making things. Her father was an actor and an English teacher and her mother was a dancer, choreographer, and educator.
“They encouraged me to be creative and did a lot to give me access,” said Neidich. “My rebellion was studying political science. I wanted to work for the U.N. and save the world. My parents told me I should go to art school, and eventually I realized they were right and ended up going.”
Connecticut is where Neidich grew up, before moving to Switzerland for her political science studies. After that, she traveled to Serbia and spent a lot of time in galleries and churches, falling more and more in love with art. Neidich transferred back to the United States with plans to become an art educator with a degree from Tufts University in Boston.
Sharing knowledge with others
“As I got to know myself better, I realized that making change on a smaller level person by person as an educator suited me more and felt more true to who I am,” said Neidich.
She moved to Brooklyn and taught high school, middle school, and elementary school for five years. Throughout the entire time, Neidich was making art with deep desires to pursue it full-time.
Inspired by her time as an elementary school educator and children’s books, Neidich watched as Fox & Crow continued to grow into a bigger and bigger side-gig. She had to make a decision to either pursue her art as a full-time job, or to shrink her business down so she could keep teaching.
A leap of faith to the Sunshine City
Nedich and her husband, an animator and writer, decided to do something crazy in 2016 and take an “art year,” to go live somewhere new and dive head-first into their art.
“We wanted to live somewhere less expensive than New York City, somewhere with no winter, and that’s how we ended up in St. Pete,” said Neidich. “We fell in love with St. Pete and ended up staying here. In all the places I’ve been, I’ve never felt like a place wanted me so much. St. Pete has space for me. I make friends and find places to share my art with ease. It feels like the place I’ve been looking for.”
Giving back to the community
Living in the ‘Burg opened up lots of new doors and windows of opportunity for Neidich. She continues to engage in educational work by getting involved with the local non-profit, NOMAD Art Bus.
“Art is a form of human expression, so we believe it is for all people, not just those with access to the tools, supplies and education to participate,” NOMAD Art Bus’ website says.
Neidich helps NOMAD with work at local Head Start centers, juvenile detention centers, foster homes, group homes, and more. They provide materials, access, and education so people can express themselves.
“Working with NOMAD has been some of the most meaningful work I’ve done as an educator,” said Neidich. “I’m following the thread of being socially engaged.”
Now, she is co-curating two shows about art as activism, in addition to teaching art classes on the online platform, Skillshare. She has a class about tips on running a business, down to every little aspect she encounters with Fox & Crow Paper Co.
“My next class will be on how to prepare for vending at a market,” Neidich teased. “When I want to learn, I go to Skillshare. It’s a cheap and very valuable tool.”
Neidich continues to follow her dream of illustrating children’s books, too. She completed one and is seeking a publisher for it, in addition to the one she made for a school called Deep Play for Kids, which was self-published. Two more children’s books are currently in the works.
The market scene
“The local maker community is so generous, supportive, and inviting,” said Neidich.
If she had to give a piece of advice to a new maker, she would say, “Start coming to markets and chatting with people. If you really dig someone or the work they do, buy them a coffee and ask to chat. Most of the friends I’ve made down here, I’ve made at markets. It’s a really great community.”
“Black Crow is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of how a business can be socially engaged and ethical and successful,” said Neidich.
Get in touch
Neidich is always accepting commissions, which you can inquire about via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find her work online at her website. Her Skillshare video classes are available for members under her name, Evan Neidich.
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