I stumbled across David Carmack Lewis’s paintings a while back, and immediately fell in love with their luminescence. There is something entirely seductive in the narratives he weaves, and I find myself easily lost within them.
What are your main inspirations in art?
My inspiration now is primarily the night. It’s about how different kinds of light completely change the world. My work is a kind of story telling. For me it’s all about the mystery.
If you mean what other artists influence me… well, Ray Bradbury once said about writing that style is something one developed gradually by trying to copy other people’s styles. I suspect this is true of me. I’ve tried to emulate so many at one time or another over the past 30+ years that it would be impossible to pick out the ones whose influence has really stuck. I can give you a big fat list if you want.
What is your art background? (education, experience, etc)
I studied illustration and design in Virginia. My main goal originally was to write and illustrate children’s books. I never got very far with that. I did freelance illustration for a number of years and was a staff artist at a newspaper for a while. Then a friend introduced me to a gallery for artists who were just getting started in their careers. I sold my first couple of paintings. They were pretty awful actually. But the idea that I could make money drawing what I wanted… well, that was that.
What is your process for creating your work?
I staple a canvas directly to the plywood wall of my studio, prime it and then just start drawing. I almost never begin with sketches or studies (although I do sometimes photograph a place that I think would make a good setting like under a bridge or something). I work and rework the idea and image directly on the canvas changing things all the way through.
I stretch the painting on canvas later wrapping some of the image around the sides so that it will look good without a frame.
What is the single most important thing you want to communicate with your work?
What I’m always trying to capture is something pretty ephemeral and hard to put into words. Which is why I paint. but it has something to do with lying in my bed at night when I was 12 and staring at the shadows of tree branches waving across my window and thinking how unfair it was that we had to sleep at night.
What are your career goals?
Like a lot of artists I have a job to make ends meet. My only real goal is to lose the job and be able to support my family with my art (without sacrificing the integrity of making images that I honestly care about). But no matter what, it’s my intention to make those images until I can no longer hold a brush.
What one object has been the most instrumental in helping you achieve what you have so far?
Stubbornness. It’s not an object, I know, but it’s the truth.
Tell me three random things about you.
- I work full time and paint in the evenings.
- I have a two year old daughter.
- Fortunately, I’m a hermit.