i am a professional multi medium artist living in chicago, illinois in the rogers park neighborhood.
lewis lain is a multi-medium artist and illustrator residing in chicago. his work focuses
on storytelling with simple design and recycled ‘resonant’ material. his
use of re-claimed windows and found-glass as canvas with cardboard and
acrylic, result in multi-dimensional paintings punctuated with extensive
use of color and texture.
recent exhibitions include ‘ephemera,' 'here and(there),' ' the next wave
art salon,' and 'respond.react' (an official 2011 chicago artist month
exhibition) last year, lewis completed a mural commissioned by the
village of oak park. currently, lewis is creating illustration for los
angeles author, roby duncan's 'smaller totems' (a webcomic scheduled to
launch winter 2011.
he is fascinated with constant exploration of balance between mundane action and annihilating revelation.
‘the rise and fall of lewis lain.'
i recall, when i was young, hearing a story about a primitive pot that had been thrown on a primitive wheel. when an archeologist applied an amplified needle to the ridges of the pot as it spun, the sounds of the world around the pot when it was initially thrown were reproduced. the pot had behaved as a wax record. the idea fascinated me. energy captured in an object—a moment secured in material.
technically, i am drawn to glass as canvas—the multiple layers, finishes and possibilities— but over the last several years i have come to an unique understanding of two distinct types of glass—as they relate to my work: 'clean glass' and 'resonant glass.' 'clean glass' comes direct from the factory—picture frames, panels, table-tops. it has not been infused with human energy as has ‘resonant glass.’ i use clean glass because it allows my own intentions to come through in my work.
consider: you and i look through a window at a tree. light-energy from the tree passes through the glass to our eyes. our rods and cones fire and we see a tree. i would suggest some of the light-energy from the interaction between eye and tree is captured in the glass—a captured moment. over time, these moments collect until the window vibrates with captured ‘resonant’ energy.
i have noticed that when i focus my vision on a piece of resonant glass, all the energy contained within comes together and freezes into an image. i then capture the image so others might see what i see. there is nothing organic about the process. when i see an image in resonant glass, that is the image that is there.—every line, every color, every shape in my paintings are frozen in the window the moment i focus on the glass. i trace the image with layers of used cardboard and acrylic. (used cardboard, like glass, is infused with energy—it has carried items, been touched and traveled—making it an excellent medium for capturing resonant images in glass.) this is the way i have been painting for the last three years.
several months ago, i saw the image of a character named 53947, a re-occurring figure in my work, sitting in a pile of ashes that was a city. i liked the image and placed the window on my worktable, then went to retrieve paint and cardboard to fix the image in the glass. when i returned and looked into the window at the image, i noticed the figure had shifted. it was 53947 sitting in ashes, but now he was rebuilding the city. i realized, in that moment, he had posed for me.
the revelation was an interesting one. to acknowledge the truth of what my eyes had seen was to acknowledge that either 53947 exists outside of my world, on the other side of the window, or i was in fact crazy. i decided to acknowledge his existence was preferable and my perceptions immediately shifted as i began to trace all the key moments in a story that had been whispered to me by the wind for over three years. then, quite suddenly, a torrent—a download of information flooded my brain:
53947 is a typeface designer. he is a typeface designer living in ‘worldview. he designs fonts that, to me, all look exactly like ‘times new roman.’ this is because his world is incredibly visually complex—high definition—but my eyesight is only 8-bit. it is impossible for my mind to grasp all the visual details.
his world would be considered perfect, if anyone in his world ever thought it necessary to define it.
53947 has a re-occurring dream. in it, he is told by a bluebird to pass an old dead tree and climb a hill. on the horizon above the deep valley, he will see his ‘salvation.’ he progresses through his life, never finishing the dream—never seeing his ‘salvation.’
one day, i saw the ending of this dream in a pane of glass. the image was so crisp, i finished it in a day. his ‘salvation’ took the form of a burning letter ‘a’ in the sky. i realize that the moment i placed this image on my side of the glass, 53947 noticed it on his side of the glass—burning on the horizon, above the deep valley. the sight of the letter—unlike anything he had ever seen before—granted him salvation in the form of sublime knowledge and suddenly with all the answers, the questions become unimportant. he received perfect understanding of perception, all-knowing but annihilating.
in return for this gift, he now gives me images from his world—of its places and people and mythos. he freezes these images in resonant glass, developing the resonant energy into traceable images. the left-over energy is then frozen into a textural fill of interlocking line-segments that give his world a distinct look—like the grain of a polaroid.
this communication has not only driven my work, but my understanding of the world as i move within it. i have come to fantastic conclusions and then been pushed by 53947 to re-evaluate my position and acknowledge multiple perceptions and possibilities. sometimes material can contain more than just its chemical components.
Current Residence: loftershire: chicago, il
deviantWEAR sizing preference: xl
Print preference: high, matte photo paper
Favourite genre of music: banjo
Favourite writer: roby duncan
Favourite style of art: resonant
Operating System: pc
MP3 player of choice: anything not of the apple empire
Shell of choice: conch
Wallpaper of choice: scrubbable, preplastered, solid vinyl
Skin of choice: pig(fried)
Favourite cartoon character: 53947
Personal Quote: i am sublime resonant energy.