Thursday, May 14, 2009

Louis St.Lewis feature, The Raleigh Extra

Louis St.Lewis : Making a Place of His Own

Spotlight the Arts- The Raleigh Extra
by Ivan R. Waldorf

Louis St.Lewis means to turn heads- and he succeeds.

There is more to art than pen to paper, brush to canvas, or bow to string. Art is as much entertainment as anything else, and it helps to bring that overlooked element to bear when seeking a wider audience for your work.

That, in a nutshell is part of the magic that is Louis St.Lewis, the expressive young artist who was commissioned this year to create the signature poster for Artsplosure.  And what a collection of emotions and images it is.  Much like it's creator.

" I learned early on that I needed to market myself effectively," St.Lewis says, " and I believe I have been successful in doing so."   Indeed.

He lives as most other artists and would-be artist can only dream of.  He is an artist, full time.  His works sell for thousands of dollars and are sought after,  And he is free to be whoever he discovers himself to be.  Not bad for something considered a hand-to-mouth business.

" I've tried to market myself in the manner of the late 19ths and early 20th centuries, when artists were valued as something important," he says.  "Art is entertainment, just like the movies, shows or any kind of show business.  People want to be entertained, so I use costumes, a limo, an entourage, because it livens things up when I arrive."

But what about all that stuff about artistic purity?  It's all in the eye of the beholder, apparently, because this artist, having been booted out of every college  and art school he attended- not for failure to perform, but failure to conform- has left his purer classmates in the dust.

"None of the people who graduated from the schools I went to are still in the arts." Louis says.

And as one looks at the Artsplosure poster, it's easy to see the influence of Louis' favoritesm like Warhol and Dali.   But there's a lot of Louis St.Lewis there too.

After all, how many people could stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower and see it - the Tower- as a jazz horn in the hands of Sir Walter Raleigh, surrounded by classic images of The Louvre, while understanding Paris as a town " just like Raleigh, except not quite."

After all, that's what art is all about-seeing  the ordinary in an extraordinary way.  That's what makes Louis St.Lewis the artist he is- something no classroom or workshop knows to teach.  It must be discovered within.