Category Archives: Lewis, Michael

Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis interview with Katie Lemon, UVic student in the Williams Seminar on Monday, October 26, 2009.

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“Well, I wasn’t a close friend of Michael’s. I did live in Chinatown during the time that sort of Swan’s started and was part of that, what was sort of called the ‘Chinatown Artists.’ Michael was very supportive of artists so you got to know him that way and in those days, if you were spending some time in the pub you got to know him because he was always a greeter there.”  -Michael Lewis

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“These are the kind of things that happen when I paint for myself. I don’t know what I’m doing generally. I mean I have an idea of what I’m going to paint but the painting always turns out to be something else that I didn’t overtly understand when I started and the painting always teaches me something about myself.”  -Michael Lewis

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“Every human life has something to offer and that’s a huge amount of treasure that you’re discarding. The gleaner says oh that pop bottle you just threw out, that’s a few cents to me. Well, so are people. But we haven’t got that idea yet. And I think that’s what would make things better. If we could make that paradigm shift in this society and say, every human life has something to offer. How do we go about recapturing that? That’s my rant.”  -Michael Lewis

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KL: “In your work as an artist has there been anyone else who has really influenced you?”

ML: “Oh, a lot of people. I mean as far as art goes. Big time influences from the 30s. American Social Realists like Thomas Hart Benton, William Gropper, Ben Shahn—those kind of people and at the same time, there were the German Expressionists like George Grosz, Otto Dix—people who were painting about the social situation in Germany which was pre-Hitler; this is pre-Nazis. But it’s right after the First World War so Weimar Republic time—a lot of people come back from the war as damaged souls. Yeah, there was a lot of social painting during that time, particularly in those two areas that influenced me. And then if you go on to that, if you go further, then I am heavily influenced by the Sunday Funnies which is (laughter) something I grew up with. That was my major entertainment: radio and the Sunday Funnies—The L.A. Times and they had huge pages of Prince Valiant and Dick Tracy and those were my first visual images. Those were the first things that held me as a child and excited m about a world of color and image so they still live very strong in what I do.”

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