Meet a Maker: Simon Lewis

Meet a Maker: Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis got in touch to share his beautifully detailed drawings. We loved seeing his view of Leeds so wanted to find out a bit more about Simon, and the work he creates.

Tell us about the work you create?

I usually do detailed drawings, fine line cross-hatched style, the more detailed the better. It tends to be landscapes from in and around Leeds, ranging from shop fronts, old buildings that have been earmarked for demolition, brutalist architecture, busy shopping or market scenes, and 1 of a gig. I like to pick scenes that are not obviously beautiful, a bit forgotten about, they seem to appeal to me in some way.

What materials do you work in?

A few different types, most of my work starts with a micron black fine liner; sometimes I leave these drawings as they are, sometimes I turn them into screenprints or digital images. If I do that, each layer is a separate detailed drawing, which then becomes a different colour when printing it or combining the drawings digitally. Some of my images have up to 7 layers/colours, so it’s a relatively long process to do. I’m also experimenting with drypoint etchings, combining etchings onto various colours and textures. I also sketch with pen and felt tips, and I’ve also recently started sketching straight onto an iPad with a stylus pen, which comes out far better than I expected. I’ve always enjoyed learning and experimenting with different techniques so my work has changed gradually from drawings to digital to various forms of printmaking and back again.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere really. I draw lots of buildings and street scenes, so it tends to be things I walk past regularly and then I gradually decide it’d be interesting to draw. I tend to like things that are neglected or a bit shabby, faded grandeur and buildings that are earmarked for demolition. And people too, there’s no shortage of inspiration when I’m walking around town and just watching the range of people and styles going past. I also see work by other artists and printmaking and see some technique or style and want to try to incorporate that in my work too. There’s always a lot I’ve got planned in my head to do next.

Where do you make most of your work?

Mainly at home to do the drawing and any computer work. I’ve got a small etching press in my garage, so I can do that at home too. I’ve recently started screenprinting at Leeds Print Workshop (since the last place, inc workshop, unfortunately, closed down), so luckily there’s been facilities available that aren’t too far away. What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve got a couple of commissions on the go at the moment, a black and white drawing of someone’s house, and the other is a school and will be a line drawing with colour, finished off digitally. Apart from that, I’m working on some small etchings.

Who are your favourite artists or makers?

Various different illustrators, printmakers and painters inspire me, most whose name I can’t remember. I like people who do massive drawings such as Paul Noble, Mike Wilks, they always impress me with the size and amount of effort and time to do such a thing. The colours and techniques used by the Impressionists, I’m trying to vaguely get that brushstroke feel in some of my screenprints. Anything by Van Gogh too for his incredible use of colours.

What exhibition or art event have you been to recently that you think is worth shouting about and why?

To be honest I haven’t been to anything for a while that I can remember. I probably to need to get out and about more. I’m looking forward to Leeds Art Gallery re-opening later in the year, as that’s the main one I go to.

Do you have any tips for artists and makers who are starting out?

The usual advice I think, stick to your beliefs and style, don’t agree to work you don’t feel comfortable with. For promotions and getting work, I’m still working that out for myself, but things like social media, forums, exhibitions spaces. To put your work on display anywhere you can, the more people that see it, the better.

Where can people see your work?

I currently have some work in Nichols Delicatessen, Sunnybank Mills (soon anyway), both in Leeds. I’ve no exhibitions planned at the moment, but I enter various open art shows, and I usually do Leeds Print Fair in November.  I also sell cards in Our Handmade Collective, Off the wall and Chirpy.

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