April 30, 2019 Artist to Watch: Brandon Lewis
Inspired by the Stories Happening Around Him
Brandon Lewis first came onto our radar when he started participating in our Connections Program and showing his work at venues like the office of the Mayor, and the Department of Human Resources. His work immediately clicked with the community. He recreates scenes from his life, and the lives of those around him that are familiar and comforting in their humanity. They are touching in their reverence, and not without a dash of humor. Recently Brandon was voted as the public favorite at the 2019 Art Flow exhibition! This week we were able to talk with him to find out a bit about his process and why he makes the work he does in our Artist to Watch Blog.
Have you always been interested in painting?
I have always been interested in painting, I started drawing when I was three years old and from then explored all types of mediums, and finally settled on acrylic. Painting is like writing in my mind, my work tells compelling stories just as any short story or novel would.
Who was the artist that first inspired you?
The artist that first inspired me was my Grandmother Gladys, now she wasn’t a painter or drawer, but she was an artist in her own right. Her way of dressing was an art form all its own. She would emerge from her bedroom on Sunday mornings in some of the most beautiful and colorful hats and dresses I’d ever seen. She was also an avid Gardner and she would plant bulbs in early spring in the perfect place, by summer her yard would be like a canvas, filled with colors and sweet smells. She was one of the most creative people I ever met.
Who are your influences now?
My influencers now, are Jacob Lawrence and Clementine Hunter, the devotion these two African American artist had to telling the story of our people is inspiring. I look at their stories and see myself, I see my grandmothers and grandfathers in Lawrence’s work; I see my great aunts and uncles in Hunters work. They were story tellers, and I strive to tell stories with my works as well.
How do you feel about the arts community & resources in Baton Rouge?
The arts community and resources in The Greater Baton Rouge Area is growing wonderfully in my opinion. Organizations like the arts council are really making great strides to be all inclusive of all of the artist in our great city. The mayors office is doing a great job at promoting the importance of the artist, and many of the local schools have been making moves within their fine arts departments. I see great things in the future for the arts community!
What do you have coming up that you're excited about?
I have several projects coming up, I will be one of the Art educators featured at the Firehouse Gallery’s art educator show coming up, “Artists in the Classroom.” I recently took home the public vote first prize for the inaugural Art Flow competition that was put on by the arts council, and I am currently working on a new series of pieces.
Where can folks see your work online or in person?
People can currently go and view pieces from my latest collection at Winnfield Funeral Home of Baton Rouge, those pieces will be up throughout the summer. I also encourage everyone to follow me on my Instagram (_BLewis) so they can see and keep up with my latest paintings !