Tom Lewis Artist Biography
Rising British art star Tom Lewis creates prints and canvases that are a colourful, playful and whimsical blend of traditional and digital painting. His mixed media originals and giclee prints are an explosion of texture and mesmerizing coloured light. His inventive narratives give a little snapshot into the lives of the intriguing characters existing in his head and draw the viewer into a bewitching dream world. Lewis describes himself as "a premium degree pencil wizard, and mouse master of the first order". At present he is working as an artist and illustrator in the East End of London. His distinctive works explore "beautiful, nonsensical meaning," blending elements of ancient mythology traditional oriental design, and contemporary street art. Lewis has always been fascinated by painting. At the age of eight he visited the studio of an Abstract artist in New Mexico and it blew his mind. In an interview with Zeitgeist magazine Lewis explained "I'm not sure at which point this trip took on the importance in my head that it did, but I definitely later started painting because of it". Born in Birmingham in 1979, he received a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art from Middlesex University, "I just wanted to be a painter, I didn't really think about the world of contemporary art, which became apparent when I got to uni and nearly got thrown out every year I was there". In 2010 a selection of Tom Lewis' work was chosen by a team of plucky young entrepreneurial contestants on the BBC television show "Junior Apprentice". The exposure was a turning point in his career, "The battle has always been getting [my work] in front of enough people". The public reaction was beyond his wildest dreams and his phone rang non-stop for three weeks, "I think I started speaking faster because I was so stressed and excited". Lewis' influences come from all over the place. He had an early obsession with ninjas and manga which informed his work, as well as an admiration for films such as Miyazaki's "Spirited Away". He has spent time looking at 19th century Japanese woodblock prints, hand painted wall paper from all different time periods, textured graffiti surfaces,and neon signs. He admires Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami for their work ethic and is influenced by the work of Utagawa Hiroshige and Cy Twombly. To bring a piece together Lewis starts off by sketching. He then switches back and forth between the computer and real media, scanning, digitally painting, printing, drawing, painting, scanning etc. He likes the layers this process creates. He learnt to use digital painting programmes at the same time as he began to paint in real life so the two processes very much inform each other. Tom's technique ingeniously blends classical draftsmanship with modern technology, utilising a limitless variety of mediums, from pencil, aerosol cans, gold leaf and marker pen, to 3D rapid prototyping, and digital images. Tom Lewis has had his paintings and prints exhibited worldwide including Hong Kong, Singapore, The Hamptons, and New York. His 2010 London solo show sold out in roughly 15 minutes. Read our editorial featuring Tom Lewis: Q & A with Tom Lewis.