Paul Lewin, born in Kingston, Jamaica has always reflected his interest in storytelling, Jamiaca and sci-fi and fantasy art. All of this is reflected in his work and painting.
The message of my work is to tell your story in your own unique way. You do not have to adhere to any traditional structures of cultural or institutional ways. I try to tell the story of myself through the other worldly figures in my art and not focus too much on where it’s place in the “art world” might be. Whats important to me is gaining a deeper connection to the visions. I believe this is also how our ancestors viewed their creations.
Let us begin by getting to know you Paul, you describe you inherited much of your interest in art from your father, can you please tell us more about yourself, where are you from and how did you begin your journey into art?
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1973. I moved to the United States in 1977. I began creating art from before I can remember. I loved to draw just using pencil and paper. As a child I loved to draw the spaceships and military jets that I would see in movies and tv. I was really into sci-fi and fantasy. My father was very much into sci-fi as well and we would watch a lot of movies together. He loved to collect art and ancient artifacts. He taught me a lot about creativity in ancient societies. He also taught me about what life was like back in Jamaica in the old country. He was a wood worker and I spent a lot of time helping him with various projects. Through him I learned how to focus on the process of creating as opposed to the final result. He viewed every project as a journey. After spending time working with him I would retreat to my room for hours by myself creating my own worlds. Eventually I began to develop my own style and vision. A big part of my process has always been to try to keep growing as an artist and I try to stay true to that to this day.
Can you tell us about the process of making your work? We want to know a little about the significance and scope of your work. How do you make your work? Are there particular tools/materials/software/technology that you use? Is there a connection between your process and your artwork’s message?
I work in a very traditional medium. All my work is acrylic on canvas. Most of the images I create come mainly from daydreams and repedative visions. I like to focus on a few different inspirations such as, Sci-fi, nature, technology, fantasy, and folklore. After spending some time each day meditating on those concepts I can begin to piece together random collage like images that eventually begin to tell a story. The story is usually told visually; through colors, symbolism, composition, and flow. The message of my work is to tell your story in your own unique way. You do not have to adhere to any traditional structures of cultural or institutional ways. I try to tell the story of myself through the other worldly figures in my art and not focus too much on where it’s place in the “art world” might be. Whats important to me is gaining a deeper connection to the visions. I believe this is also how our ancestors viewed their creations.
Our lives and relationship to art are being moved further into digital spaces. How does this affect your work as an artist? How do you engage with your digital audience? Do you think your digital social life affects the work that you do?
I grew up in the generation where we spent most of our early lives without internet. I remember drawing and creating things that only me, my family, or my friends would ever see. And a lot of it I never showed anyone. I think there was definitely something significant growing up and creating art knowing hardly anyone would ever see it. I think that helps you to be less afraid to explore deeper without being concerned about how many likes you might get from a new piece of work. Ultimately though I love technology and this new digital age. I still remember the first time a posted a painting on social media and started getting comments. It was very inspiring and surreal to finish a piece of art and have it immediately seen around the world. I think with the internet and social media there has never been a better time in history to be an artist. There is so much in your control theses days when it comes to getting your art out to a wider audience. There are no longer the gatekeepers who decide which art gets to be seen and which is determined to be not worthy.
What is African art? How would you describe “african art”? What does African art mean to you? Do you think African art is important? Do you think that Africa is reflected in your work? If/so how? why not?
For me, African art is anything artistically created that reflects or honors African culture. African art is a visual representation of the story of my ancestors. Stories that have been passed down from generation to generation through the ancient tradition of story telling and creativity. Africa is reflected in my work because it would be impossible to tell the story of me without it. My work is a mix of the past, present , and future.
Where do you find inspiration? Can you share some of your favorite artists and why they have had a meaningful impact in your work?
I find inspiration from many different places; Movies, art, sci-fi, nature, science, books. Some of my favorite artists are Salvador Dali, Ernie Barnes, H.R. Giger, Octavia Butler, John Biggers, and Zdzislaw Beksinki. Each of these artist inspired me at very specific times in my life. My art has gone through vastly different phases; from dark art to fantasy to sci-fi and folklore.
Lastly, Where is your favorite place to work? Please share a photo.
My favorite place to create is at home in my studio. It’s been the exact same ever since I was a child. This is where the connection for downloading visions comes in the best lol.