JENNIFER ORKIN LEWIS

CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

JL: My artwork is colorful, painterly, uplifting, lush and quirky. It toggles between surface design and fine art, I do enjoy experimenting in lots of different mediums so things shift but the big picture is always the same.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

JL: I’m inspired by the things I see, read and hear about everyday. Walking down a busy street, a gorgeous flower garden, the weather, or an article I’ve read. But there is an internal inspiration and drive that makes it appear as it does.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

JL: There are two avenues. For my personal work I love to just jump right in. I will decide on a general color palette and my theme before I begin, but then I will just paint. It doesn’t always work out exactly as planned and I don’t love every one but more times than not I end up with a piece that is fresh and feels like I accomplished my goal. When I am working on a client project and there is a specific brief to follow, I need to work within those parameters. I will sketch and work out the concept first before painting but I still tend to make quick and intuitive decisions.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

JL: I’d love for people to feel uplifted, positive and inspired when looking at my art. Adding just a touch of joy in someones day.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

JL: I’m always trying to find a little more balance. I do work as a full time artist, and can get so involved that I don’t get out enough to see friends or go somewhere special. I’ve made it a priority in the last year and it’s getting better.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

JL: I love to work on impulse. Of course the downside is there are times when it feels like there is nothing. Sometimes just making a mark on the paper can get it going. There are also times though when I have an idea and want to do a certain amount of planning, but I rarely draw anything out to the last detail.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

JL: That there are ups and downs. The ups are great of course, but the downs can inform your next big idea and they always pass (even if it feels like it’s all over and you will never create again).

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

JL: It’s very important to me to be true to myself, to let things evolve but to always be me.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

JL: To feel inspired every day, sometimes its just not there and I spend a lot of time being frustrated and feeling like I’m wasting time. It could go on for a few days but it always comes back.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

JL: Working on my own schedule, doing what I love every day and being surrounded by color all the time!

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

JL: I have so many artists I love, respect and am inspired by. It is hard to narrow it down to one or two.. And it changes daily!

JL: But some who are constant inspirations are Maira Kalman, and Henri Matisse.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

JL: I don’t delve too deeply into technology but it is critical to know at least basic photoshop skills, even just for scanning and sending art to clients. I do textile repeats in photoshop and I also will use my iPad to do rough color combinations to show clients.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

JL: I do believe drawing makes you observe things very closely, but that doesn’t rule out non artists being very observant. I think we all find special and unique ways we view and interact with what is around us.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

JL: I love to travel and go far and wide. I can’t say I have a favorite city other than my own, NYC. I always want to get out and see the next place. I’ll be teaching a workshop in Vietnam next year and am very excited to see that country.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

JL: I have so many, I have been in the same book club for 30 years!

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

JL: I’m starting to paint on a larger scale which is exciting and scary. I’m having a slow start but I am determined to make that happen.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

JL: Creating what comes from my heart and finding calmness, peace and confidence.

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?

JL: I like to work to female jazz vocalists like Madeleine Peyroux, Sarah Vaughn, and Billie Holiday.

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

JL: I make things, let things happen and discover the wonder.

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