Friday, February 19, 2010

Eric Lewis

When was the last time you made art out of your garbage? My friend Eric Lewis, famous for his clever New Yorker cartoons, does just that!
"I was born and raised the son of two psychiatrists (kinda explains a lot?) in New Haven, CT. I have lived in NYC since my undergrad days at Columbia University. After that I went to film school, designed t-shirt graphics for a resortwear company, was a room-service waiter at a posh hotel, designed garden products for Martha Stewart, and finally went back to school for Industrial Design at RISD. I love Star Trek (The Original Series), the Grateful Dead, Barack Obama, and cats (I own two - Oliver & Daisy)."
How or why did you start working dimensionally? 
Not sure when it started, but I should probably credit art teachers in kindergarten as well as my mom, who always encouraged my artistic endeavors. The above image is a recent drawing of a kindergarten art project that coincidentally involved using recycled products.
What or who has influenced the way you work? 
Tibor Kalman, the late, great graphic designer was a huge influence on me - I had the pleasure of being his personal assistant for a summer. His best two lessons: 1. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Then, just when you think your design is as simple as it can possibly be, make it even one step MORE simple. 2. As a designer, look for opportunities with the minimum number of assholes between you and your audience/consumers.
Please describe your working process. 
When I'm working with garbage, I will collect stuff even if I have no idea what to do with it. But I try to keep it on view in my apartment, and let its presence slowly inspire me. I kept a junk bicycle in my bedroom for several weeks before one day it dawned on me how to make it into a functional stool (image below). Besides that, I like to wait until a couple of days before something is due - deadlines really get my adrenaline and inspiration moving! :) 
What do you enjoy most / least about working dimensionally? 
I love it when my 3D creations work from several angles - i.e. a sculpture that one can walk 360 degress around and always find interesting. That's sometimes how I know whether a garbage flower will work or not - if I have to worry about which way the leaf is pointing, it's probably not such a great garbage flower to begin with. And I love forgetting all my troubles as I engage in an aesthetic/design exercise. Joy. Enjoy least?...hmmm - finding space in my apartment to build stuff - it's impossible! Guess I need a studio.
Eric Lewis - Garbage Flowers
All images and content © Eric Lewis


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