Kate Lewis Wants To Be Remembered For Making a Difference In People’s Lives.


I read that you found your love for art through Math…How does Art come about through math?

My earliest memory of math dates all the way back to when I would sit in the bathtub with my mother and she would give me multiplication tables to solve. Everything was right or wrong, black and white. I think my illustrative style is more a result of that mathematical left brain side. I felt like it came from being in college and getting really engrossed in math and accounting and noticing these linear similarities. All I can really describe it as is rubbing the same part of my brain. Almost like it’s flexing the same muscles that I used doing math.  

I love the Architectural influence within your work. When did you first start finding a love for architecture?

It’s probably from traveling so much and wanting to chronicle memories that could be triggered later by looking back at drawings of the places where those memories happened. I’m constantly looking for trips to go on. My parents always took us traveling. I felt like the things that stuck out to me on those vacations were buildings. The earliest drawing my mom kept was from when I was 5 and it was a little girl in a house with an art easel and it said “I want to be an rdst (artist). Funny I was even drawing houses back then. I guess that’s when I originally started with architectural drawing.

Continuing the conversation of architecture, you did a series on the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright…

He was one of America’s greatest architects and last year was his 150 year anniversary. I loved that he had this organic architectural style that fits itself into nature. I ended up being apart of the show in collaboration with All Star Press. They were really into Frank Lloyd Wright as well and so we thought it would be a great way to commemorate the occasion. Just delving in and getting to see how boxy and angular all of his structures were, it worked well to my style.

While you do travel a lot, you’ve called Chicago home now for the past 6-7 years, how has this city pushed you to become a better artist?

Oh man, I feel like this city is why I am an artist. I feel like I’ve always fallen back on having regular odd jobs…art was never really encouraged as much in my family. Not that it was discouraged, but nobody knew what I could do with that…like “what do you do with an art degree? Be an artist?” Coming to Chicago and seeing how much of a creative and expressive city it is, and being surrounded by so many artists, I was overwhelmed. There were a few key players who were pushing me to pursue art as a career because I was doing it in all my free time. I’m constantly inspired by Chicago because you’ll see that everyone has their regular jobs so that they can pursue their craft because they love it that much.

What’s your favorite city you’ve traveled to?

I have a favorite only because I went there every year for probably 10 years or so. In Costa Rica, there’s a place called Playa Grande. I learned to surf out there and it’s the whole other half of me. It’s probably my favorite place I’ve ever been because I have so many good feelings attached to being in the ocean, making friends I still run into in the water, learning to speak Spanish, just being immersed in an environment so different from the city.

Majority of your work is done in black and white. As of lately though you’ve done a complete 180. All of the work you have been posting is in color. How do you know when to approach a piece in color vs black and white?

Lately, it’s been a hard line of all color. I was doing all B&W and then all of a sudden there was a solid shift to color. I spent three months down in South Florida recently and the color palettes down there spoke to me. All pastels and neutral tones. I think the reason I wasn’t into color sooner was just because I hadn’t found my colors.

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Favorite artist?

M.C. Escher

Favorite thing about being an artist?

Freedom.

Favorite lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?

Don’t rush. There’s no rush.

Favorite project you’ve ever been apart of?

Violet Hour mural. I was on cloud nine doing that one. I had dreamed about that mural for so long and remember thinking “if I get that wall one day I’ll know I’m really an artist haha.”

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Let’s dive into 5 pieces of yours

Beth Sholom Congregation

It’s actually funny. Allstar Press and I went through and picked out 20 or so Frank Lloyd Wright structures and from the original list, as I was drawing them, I noticed I was liking certain elements of his design work. I forgot which one I took off the original list, but I had to add Beth Sholom synagogue. It was just so beautiful. The crazy diamond kind of formation. The way the light hits it.

Beth-Sholom-Congregation-_Synagogue__WEB_044daa21-f98f-40b3-a271-2315e196b05f

Saint Rochs Cemetery

A friend showed me that cemetery and told us a story about the inside of it. There’s a room in the chapel there that’s filled with offerings left by people in need of healing. There’s children’s polio braces, crutches, false limbs on the walls, fake eyeballs in boxes. It’s weird, really weird. You can see it all through a little window you have to cup your hands around from the outside. I loved it. I knew I wanted to draw a cemetery down there and there’s so many to choose from, but it had to be that one.

Saint+Roch's+Cemetery+Small

Playboy Mansion

I thought it was cool that the very first Playboy Mansion was here in Chicago. Then eventually it was sold to SAIC to be used as dorms for students, how funny is that? But now it sold again and was made into condominiums. I loved how symmetrical and perfect the mansion was. I drew it just before Hugh Hefner died just as an odd coincidence.

Playboy+Mansion+Small

Pip & Flip 

This piece was for another show at All Star Press called Funhouse: Art Oddities. It was a group show. I was looking up what my inspiration was going to be for this show and I came across them. When I looked into the backstory of them, I was drawn to their kind of melancholic backstory because I used to work with people with developmental disabilities and saw so much potential for exploitation which these siblings experienced.

Twins

Falling water

Falling Water is literally just an iconic and beautiful American structure. Over the waterfall, I mean c’mon. It was completely built into its environment and is just such a beautiful spot. When people ask what my dream house would be like it’s like a nod to Falling Water.

Falling-Water_web_55bafb65-d864-47d1-a119-bdb6048f1f40

We as artists, are constantly setting goals for ourselves. At the end of the year you can use this question to look back and see if you were able to accomplish them. What are a few goals you would love to accomplish by end of the year?

A big thing for me this year is applying for more art residencies. I think it would be a great opportunity to find the balance of wanting to travel and make art. I found that I’m either here in Chicago pumping out artwork or I’m traveling and not making much art at all. Another would be to set personal deadlines and hit them without needing people to harp on me about it.

I always end this then the first time I do an interview with an artist that I appreciate their thought process. When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

I want to be remembered for making a difference in people’s lives. I don’t even know that I need to be remembered for my art, I want to be remembered for who I am and how I made others feel.


 

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