Skip to main content

Artist Talks: Simon Lewis

When I was working at the Mall Galleries there was also work on display in the Threadneedle Space as part of the Haworth Prize. The work in this part of the gallery was 12 shortlisted works from people under the age of 30 who work up in the northern part of the country. The work on display was all very different but one that appealed to me was by the illustrator and printmaker Simon Lewis. His work ‘The Headrow’, a vibrant screenprint that captured the busy environment of a street. I was struck by this piece in particular because of the process and a way part of the print has been drawn. There was a lot of detail in the architecture and people and this created a really interesting narrative. His work has inspired me to push my line drawings further by including a more variety of mark-making to create more interest in what I am drawing and adding more texture to the work. 

Find more about the Haworth Prize at: http://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/haworth-prize 

I contacted Simon, as I was interested to find more about his practice and his interest in printing.



The Headrow, screenprint by Simon Lewis
'The Headrow'


Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere really. I draw lots of buildings and street scenes, so it tends to be things I walk past regularly and then I gradually decide it’d be interesting to draw. I tend to like things that are neglected or a bit shabby, faded grandeur, brutalism architecture and buildings that are earmarked for demolition. And people too, there’s no shortage of inspiration when I’m walking around town and just watching the range of people going past. There are always a lot of images I’ve got planned in my head to do next.


How important is drawing to your practice?

Either from sketching or doing detailed fine line work, drawing is the most important factor in my work. My current style is to do detailed fine line drawings that I then screenprint, this is the longest part the process as I’m essentially doing 4 quite large drawings for each print. I then combine and prepare them digitally before printing them, but I’d say the drawing part takes about 70-80% of the time. It’s also the most relaxing and enjoyable part of doing it too.

What is it about printmaking that you like?

I like the way you work with your hands, and how you end up with a physical piece, I like the textures you end up with, sometimes the accidents that occur and the freedom to experiment it gives you. I like the history behind some of the processes and how old some of the printing presses are, generally the whole feel of a workshop when you're printing– the sounds, smells, noises etc.

Proctor Street, etching, by Simon Lewis

'Proctor Street' 2006. Drypoint etching with spraypaint.


What artists do you take inspiration from?

A lot of different artists and illustrators inspire me regularly, one's I see locally in exhibitions and in magazines, online etc. Ones I tend to come back to are Van Gogh for his use of colour, impressionists such as Pisarro, railway posters by Frank Henry Mason and also the old detailed etchings of street scenes by people like Gustave Dore.


Covent Builders, Etching, by Simon Lewis
'Covent Builders', 2005. Drypoint etching with Spraypaint

Describe a regular day for you in the studio?

I'd love to have a studio! I'm not a full time artist so a regular day for me is going to work and then doing some drawing in the evening on the dining room table once the kids are in bed. When it comes to printing there's a local printmaking workshop I use.

How does it feel to have tour work shown in the Mall Galleries?


It feels good to be shortlisted for the award and to have it exhibited in such a prestigious gallery. I'll enter again next year so fingers crossed I'll be back again.

You can view more of Simon's work by clicking on the following links:https://www.facebook.com/simonlewisillustrationhttp://simonlewisillustration.tumblr.com


All images in this blogpost are from Simon's website which can be found at: http://www.simonlewisillustration.co.uk 

I appreciate and thank him for giving me permission to use these images and interview him.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Being content and tolerating uncertainty

It's been well over a year since my last blog post. I've been writing still just not in a consistent space. I've got a few pieces over at On the Beat Mag  and on the Pressing Matters Journal . It's funny how I'm starting off by trying to show how I have been keeping busy, as a way of defining my offline presence on this space. This is something I have always been very good at maintaining, an image of being busy and content in what I am doing. I think with this keeping busy, comes a sense of running from oneself in order to keep my head above the water. In recent weeks I have been writing a lot more than I have been making art. I have had projects on the go, but not pushing myself fully into them which I find frustrating because I'm not being fully present in the moment of what I am doing. In this I perhaps lose the essence of why I am doing it. When you are in a state of transition there are a few ways you can process? deal? tackle? it. I am someone who has al

Royal Drawing School / Joana Galego Show / Spring and All

I managed to have a quick look at Joana's current show @ The Royal Drawing school in between job interviews before it closes this weekend on the 4th of May. I was immediately struck by the artists composition and ability to create intimacy in the work through careful mark-making and colour choices. The artist's work is engaging because of how she moves away from working with photography to push her visual language. Concerned with memory, imagination and displacement. For this show, one of the main focuses is the notion of 'Love' and it's variety of meanings. It encompasses loneliness and different forms of absence. This is shown in how the figures are depicted and scenes are layered to create hidden meanings and engaging environments. The textures in the work and how environments were build up creating something visceral, and how certain fragments were deep in colour compared to detailed areas, suggested movement in the scenes adding to the poignancy of the work.

Artist Talks: Alison Soye

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Edinburgh and when I was there I met up with Alison Soye, who is an illustrator I discovered through Instagram. We met up in Lovecrumbs (the best cake n coffee shop) and chatted for a bit before heading to Princes Street Gardens to draw the buildings and surrounding scenery. We spoke about how we present ourselves online as artists this is something that we have to use more and more to get our work out there. Alison is currently working on an exciting project illustrating a children's book. We drew some of the buildings when we met and spoke about how amazing it is that people can both be drawing something in front of them at the same time but interpret it so differently. Alison's sense of line is more structured than my chaotic approach but we both have a similar continuous way of capturing what is in front of us, Alison's way of drawing is very instinctive. I've put together a small interview with Alison for you to lea