Sunday, December 26, 2010

Interview with Bill Lewis

q)Who are you? Where are you from and where do you live now?

a)My name is Bill Lewis and I live in the Medway Towns in the County of Kent, England but I originally came from a small village called Barming near Maidstone in the same County.

q)What is it that you do? What media do you use?

a)I am a poet and author of short stories and a visual artist. I have published 25 books, 15 of them poetry and my work has appeared in anthologies, magazines and journals on both sides of the Atlantic. My poems have been translated in Spanish and some of my stories have been translated in to German. I was one of the 6 original Medway Poets and performed with that group at many venues including the Cambridge International Poetry Festival and on BBC television and Radio. I also performed my poems in Europe, USA and Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution.

I was the first 'Writer in Residence' at the Brighton Festival.

As a painter I was one of the 13 original Stuckists and with them I have exhibited in London, Liverpool, Paris, Berlin, New Jersey, Los Angeles and many other cities.

I am also a founder member, along Joe Machine, of the Collective Remodernists: A splinter group of the Remodernist Movement.

My photographs were exhibited in the first Exhibition of International Photography in Medway.

q)What do you think sets your work apart?

a)I think what sets my written work apart is my lack of formal education. I left school at the age of 15 and I am self taught, despite this I would consider myself to be an intellectual and I have no problems about referring to myself in that way. I spent many years in study outside of the educational system. I have studied mythology for 30 years and during my poetry reading tours in the USA I was asked on several occasion, as a guest lecturer at 2 Universities, to give lectures on aspects on mythology and spirituality.

My visual work is, like many people involved with Stuckism and Remodernism is also self-taught so I do not see painting as an exercise in formalism but as an expression of an authentic need to deal with the inner workings of the psyche.

q)How long have you been showing your work for? Did you have a “big break?”

a)I have only shown my work since my involvement with the Stuckist movement which began 10 years ago. With regards to my visual art I suppose the biggest break would be exhibiting at the 'Punk Victorian' exhibition at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool.

As for my written work, there have been several pieces of luck, one of which would be being invited to read at the Cambridge International by the writer Richard Burns.

q)What are some things that have inspired you?

a)My inspiration comes from diverse places not always literary or artistic. I am interested in many things, ancient history, world mythology, physics, psychology, music, comic books, literary novels, genre novels, cinema and television.

q)What have you been working on recently?

a)I have made 3 paintings in a planned series called 'The Days of the Week' I have completed Sunday, Friday and Thursday. I am also working on paintings that examine the ambiguity on gender.

With my writing I am working on a biographical book which has the working title 'Prisoner of the Cathode Ray' which is about the effect of television and cinema on my as a child and adolescent and how it lead to me being an artist and writer.

q)Do you listen to music while you create your work? If so, would you give some examples?

a)Yes, always listen to music when I am painting and sometimes when I am writing. I have an eclectic taste in music. I may listen to a classical piece by one of my favourite composers for instance 'The Concerto de Aranjuez' by Rodrigo or something by Vaughan Williams, or it my might anything from French Chanson to Jewish Klezmer.

q)Do you do work in any other media? Other projects not necessarily related to your main body of work?

a)Quite recently I have been working on a film script connected to a short story of mine that we (with the filmmaker Jonathan Henkel) may turn into a short film,

q)What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?

a)It is always better to start out with a group. Find like minded friends and associates and try to work with them. This will not only help you to afford to put on exhibitions financially but you will also be able to help each other grow as creative people. Always take on board constructive criticism if it comes from sources that you trust.

q)Do you have any upcoming exhibitions of your work that you can mention?

a)None planned at the moment although there is a possibility of a joint exhibition with the Czech Stuckists to be held in London early in 2011 and possibly one in Athens later next year. There is a possibility that I will exhibit in Australia too, but as I am scared of spiders I may not go !!

q)Where can people see more of your work on the internet?

a)I have a page on Wikepedia and also there are film clips of me reading some of my new poems on YouTube and later next year there will be some clips, also on YouTube, of interview with me.

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