My work is not taxidermy nor are animals yet they have a sense of the creature about them, a feeling of the unknown. Anna Lewis interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 30.05.2019
Anna Lewis Anna Lewis
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Anna Lewis. Head Piece: Phobia, 2015. Feather, Leather. 16 x 16 x 30 cm. Photo by: Anna Lewis. From series: Phobia. Alternative view.. Anna Lewis
Head Piece: Phobia, 2015
Feather, Leather
16 x 16 x 30 cm
Photo by: Anna Lewis
From series: Phobia

Alternative view.

© By the author. Read Copyright.

I like how the viewer questions their wearability and how they might interact with the body in a number of ways and exist with or without it.
_ What's local and universal in your artistic work?
Beauty and death, remembering and forgetting, attraction and repulsion, familiarity and strangeness, body and object, materiality and touch, human and animal.

_ What do you expect when you show your work to the public (for example, with an exhibition)?
With my current work, I often receive a sense of curiosity and at times confusion, people think my feather pieces are actual birds yet they have a sense of body but are completely out of place with it. My work is not taxidermy nor are animals yet they have a sense of the creature about them, a feeling of the unknown, this can draw people into their beauty and tactility and can also cause unease for the same reasons. I like how the viewer questions their wearability and how they might interact with the body in a number of ways and exist with or without it.

_ How important is handmade for you in your development? What role does technics and technology play in your development?
Making by hand is absolutely key to my current body of work, my work has often been very repetitive and labour intensive involving multiple components to create new layered forms. In the past, I have combined the hand made elements with the aid of technologies such as digital printing, 3d printing, laser cutting/engraving and plotter cutting. I see these as another tool in my art kit.

_ When you start making a new piece what is your process? How much of it is a pre formulated plan and how much do you let the material spontaneity lead you?
I am completely led by the material when I make and design, I sketch out ideas as the 3 dimensional work grows. Always listen to the material and respond it its guidance.  The forms may grow and change as a result, I can only plan it to a degree, it often changes and takes on a life of its own as it comes into being. My work has often been about growing new forms from multiple components.

_ Are there any other areas besides the jewels present in your work?
I work in a university art school as an applied art lecturer so education and sharing are key to my practice. I am also very interested in combining disciplines and work across them. Collaborating with photographers, dancers and filmmakers have been important to present my work as an entire story so the pieces work on and off the body and interact with it through movement.

_ How important is wearability in contemporary jewellery? And in your pieces?
Wearability is an idea I am always questioning. I am drawn to jewellery that challenges the notion of wearability and what jewellery itself might be through the many connections objects might have to the body. Material and scale also examines this, where pieces might be only worn momentarily, exist only for an image or exists both on and off the body in any number of ways contorting both wearer and object to hint at an underlying story.

_ The last work, book, film, city that moved me was...
Venice, an almost otherworldly place, an impossible city sinking under its own beautiful weight.
The film of Frida Kahlo's life moved me to tears on a plane to Costa Rica, it remains one of my favourites.

_ What/who is the biggest influence in your career?
That is a very hard thing to pinpoint, I am influenced in so many ways beyond the world of contemporary jewellery, from art to architecture, the body itself, travel, films, books, fashion, historical artefacts, museums, flea markets, natural history, taking photographs, collecting, drawing, materials, colours, forms, human emotions, storytelling. As an artist I have many sides to me, some clash, some are complex, some are simple, all of these various influences and inspirations converge in and out of my mind at any one point. Sometimes it is chaotic and I have to focus deeply in order to find the calm, then the objects emerge.

_ Which piece or job gave you more satisfaction?
I created a large site specific installation Cathexis a few years ago for Mission Gallery, a beautiful old chapel in the Maritime Quarter in Swansea.  I was one of the first makers that the gallery challenged to work out of their normal practice. I had to fill the entire building. I approached it like a body and created a flock of 3000 suspended printed wooden birds that flew through space. I pushed myself to my physical and emotional limits on that installation, a huge undertaking but ultimately one I am most satisfied with. More recently allowing myself the time to sit and create new work around my teaching practice is my absolute priority.

_ What is your source to get information?
Anywhere and everywhere, out in the world, books, magazines, photography, drawing and recording, collecting, making and experimenting. All of these processes are as important as each other.

_ Considering the experiences you have had over the years - if you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice for the start-up phase, what would that be?

_ Can you describe your personality in 3 words, describe your work in 3 words.
My personality: individual, fun, kind.
My work: curious, beautiful, fragile.

Anna Lewis. Sculpture: Elle Se Montre, 2018. Dyed feathers, modelling foam.. 23 x 13 x 24 cm. Photo by: Dafydd Williams. From series: Elle Se Montre. Anna Lewis
Sculpture: Elle Se Montre, 2018
Dyed feathers, modelling foam.
23 x 13 x 24 cm
Photo by: Dafydd Williams
From series: Elle Se Montre
© By the author. Read Copyright.