name: Matthew G.
surname: Lewis
year of birth: 1983
country: USA


092011 – Greeter.
by LostKeep


Q1: When did you start making art?
Hmmmm… Well, my earliest memory of making art is of me and my cousin drawing at my grandmother’s kitchen table, in Alabama. She lived out in the country where there wasn’t much to do. All the things she had at her house were old trinkets and knick-knacks from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. So, doing anything exciting meant making it up. Usually, my cousin and I would just draw things or make weapons out of wood and old objects we found around her house. I was probably six years old.

Q2: What does inspire you?
Bad things… Situations, feelings, experiences, and thoughts that are hard to deal with… things that only make you a sad person. However, I also love the feeling of being utterly helpless in the face of inescapable doom. You know, when you sense that you’re powerless in a situation and can only let the desperation wash over you. Aside from these bad things making me feel all sad and gloomy, there’s an element of wonder and marvel in them.

Q3: What are your techniques?
If I’m going to work in color, I’ll mostly use computer software and a stylus and tablet. If it’s black and white, I like to work with pen and ink, ink wash, and graphite. So, my traditional work is pretty straightforward. I’d love to be able to paint, with oils, what I can paint with software.

Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
Impending doom. I think that exhilaration, awe, wonder, and mystery are built into that feeling. I’ve had it in my head to create very large, wall-sized work that no one wants to stand in front of… something that nobody wants to look at, yet, can’t help but be drawn to. I hope that someday I paint something that could crush someone’s spirit and leave them in tears, or, so frighten and shake them that they go weak in the knees, or, so bewilder and overcome them with wonderment that they’re halted in their movement and can only be still. It’s pretty dramatic and grandiose, but, why not? 🙂

Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I tend to gravitate towards reds, purples, and earthy yellows and oranges. So, mostly warm colors. They feel very present and tangible. Thus, they are the best way for me to record what’s going on in my head. They most faithfully bring my thoughts into reality.

Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
I’d love to improve my sense of atmosphere and space. One way I attempt to improve these aspects is to look at work that inspires me and try to figure out why it inspires me. To practice this, I keep my tumblr (lostkeep.tumblr.com) as a repository for images that inspire me. All of the images, there, move me in some way. Whether it’s color, composition, subject matter, technique, narrative, or whatever, there’s some trait in each image that I want to make my own. My goal in all of this practice is to make images that fit seamlessly into that blog and look like they could exist in that world that those collected images create. I feel that I keep getting closer to my goal with every work I complete. I’ve still a way to go 🙂

Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
Well, I’d like to do some crowd-funded projects. Prints, posters, merchandise, tarot cards… there’s so much. There are no limits to what you can produce for people. I just want to produce something that’s unique to me and brings something new to the cultural table. But, it has to be something that people want. I feel that the vast majority of people want to see an artist make Wolverine, Batman, Iron Man, or Spiderman in their style. And, there’s a place for that. But, it’s just not for me. While those characters interested me when I was a kid, I just don’t have the interest to draw them anymore. It’s been done a million times, already… and, by people far more skilled for that work, than me. So, my challenge is to find a voice, a medium, a story, or something, that has enough appeal to other people that they’re compelled to participate in the project. Aside from any financial good that could come of a crowd-funded project, there’s also the more interesting aspect of engaging and connecting with people. I feel that finding an audience who shares in your struggles and passions is the highest goal for any project I could tackle.

Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of LostKeep.
Foreboding, Loathsome, Ominous

Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
HERE It’s a piece I did in college and is also the earliest of my work, online. First, I drew it in pencil, then scanned it, then painted it in the computer. The piece was for an illustration class where we had to illustrate a limerick by Edward Lear. I think the technique is pretty straightforward. There was no real magic process, for this one. I just scanned it in and started coloring it… I laid in the main colors and then started rendering the light, shadows, and textures. Kind of like the generic comic book coloring process.

Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
I think my sense of mood, lighting, form, and contrast have all benefitted from practice and observation. Looking at other people’s work and learning how to study those works is infinitely beneficial. Also, I stopped giving things eyes. By removing or obscuring the eyes, I’ve tried to achieve a disconnect between the viewer and the subject matter… which is usually some type of being. Without the window of the eyes, there’s no way to anticipate what the being’s intention may be. I think the ambiguity makes for a more engaging visual. People will tend to think about it more and be moved by it.

Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
Catharsis and Revelry. I say “catharsis” because, sometimes, creating a visual piece of art helps me to work through certain mental hangups and conundrums. Making those visual works public helps also to deflate a heavy issue and make it innocuous. When I realize that hundreds of thousands of other people share the same problems or difficulties as I do, I feel less isolated and strange. So, creating art helps to alleviate problems plaguing my mind. Someday I hope my art turns less selfish and more outward than it is, now. I’d like to produce things that say something meaningful and help people think critically about a given subject. Whether that be something deeply personal or as broad as a current social issue. By “revelry”, I mean, reveling in some dark emotion or feeling. I find that being in awe and helpless before certain doom is an overwhelmingly exhilarating feeling. I took a road trip from Seattle, Washington to Denver, Colorado, recently. Several times on that trip, I found myself in a completely barren and desolate landscape. Or, I would be driving my car towards a mountainous, snow-capped landscape. I couldn’t help but think of the Europeans who came to the U.S. (before and after it was called the U.S.) and forged trails from the East Coast to the West Coast. They didn’t know what they were getting into. They didn’t know the land, where they were going, or if they’d make it. I like to assume that when facing the terrible landscape and weather before them, that they often felt helpless and desperate. It’s such a terrifying, belittling, and amazing experience to imagine… to imagine being subject to the world around you. Much like every culture and people has experienced up until now, human-kind has always feared nature and it’s unknown elements. We’re new here, on planet Earth, and have had to adapt just to scrape by a meager existence. To somehow grasp the world around us, we’ve passed down myths and legends about incredible beings and circumstances… in order to cope with our surroundings. For an increasingly educated and secular population, we’re moving out of the reach of these human emotions… I’d like to somehow re-capture that sense of awe, wonder, and terror in my work.

  Love this DarKness!

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