ARTWORK IN ACADEMIA

(A view of my greatest installations, experimental videos, mixed media drawings, and photographs during my time at the School of Visual Arts)

For most of my youth, the artworks that I have been creating were during my time in academia.

Although a lot of them were assignment driven they were also personal in ownership of originality in idea and creativity. I feel that they were and are not entirely what I am about, at the same time they were and are entirely what I am about.

I am about a lot of situations.

Of course I'm still trying to figure out what my ideology is now as an artist and what it is I want to create.

I'm still exploring myself and what it is I gravitate towards towards as far as psychologically or sociologically.

I do know that a lot of the work that I create are inspired by my writings. These writings are normally of horrible experiences regarding my race, political views or spirituality.

The photographs, installations, mixed media and drawings that I have on this page are still much a part of who I am, they just aren't always there for who I am.

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This series of photographs was the last piece I created in academia. This piece was just the beginning to my journey of realizing my ideology and understand my creativity. I'm not saying that because it was the last piece I created while in school, but because of my new found appreciation for visual stimulating work. It carries an aesthetic of darkness and I've come to realize that it's a big part of who I am and how I am.

This project emphasizes on the idea of the mind detaching from physical activities due to a preoccupation. Take for example when a person is in the shower, their body is concentrated on the fact that they are cleaning themselves, but their mind can be preoccupied with organizing a to-do list of the day.

So, with these photographs, Lewis wants to create a visual simile with the mind and its separation from the body. The spirits aspect is depicted with the shadowy and foggy like the resemblance of the actual figure that is partially clear and in focus.

When taking these photographs, I set the camera to slow the shutter speed in order to capture their stance and movement.

 

"Preoccupied Spirits" -  March 2019 - Dimensions: 88" x 44", 69" x 44" - Medium: Digital Photography

 

These are some of the experimental videos that I've directed and produced. Creating these videos gave the a great feeling of being a new. Video was not my first love in art making, but it sure was a good lover.

This short film is based on ignorance being bliss.

It all starts with a pregnant woman who is so traumatized by the news that she sends herself into a shock. She notices blood that came out of her uterus and thought she had a miscarriage.

So, she uses this blood to create a painting to help her overcome her trauma.

This blood painting was only a small portion of the daughter she later had. The daughter and this painting have a strong connection that when the daughter approaches the painting and touches it, she gets a flashback to her mother, pregnant with her at the time, being horrified by the news.

She also discovers that this blood painting is hiding a hole that the daughter will later enter into another dimension. In this other realm she will face the agony from Constant, the personification of news media.

The story continues where the daughter tries to escape Constant and becomes successful and finds herself home again. She decides it's better to forget that horrible occurrence and enjoy living her life with her mother.

However, they both know that they can’t forget or ignore what they experienced.

"Constant" -  December 2018 - Dimensions: 4 minutes and 54 seconds, 1920x1080 - Medium: Video

"Execution of the Limited Self" -  April 2017 - Dimensions:14 minutes and 3 seconds, 1920x1080 - Medium: Video

"Execution of the Limited Self" -  Nov. 2019 - Dimensions: 3minutes and 31 seconds, 1920x1080 - Medium: Video

This video was part of my installation which represents a metaphor to the craziness that I undergo as an artist who is told that certain things cannot be done due to set ways that have been made many years prior as to creating successfully, or from my interpretation of it, a creation deemed "white box" worthy. 
I've been told countless time to choose a medium while in mind I have no medium of choice and told what subject matters to cover; being a black woman, I've been told to create art about either being black, being a woman, or both. These works have already been made and are still being created today, I don't want to have to follow what everybody else is doing and recreate or be told what to create. This issue drives me insane because I'm trying to push past it, push past these barriers or limits based on my identity and create whatever I want to create with no apologies.

I was fortunate enough to display this video as an installation for the Fridge Art Fair in Spring time 2018. curated by Eric Ginsburg and Amanda Acosta. It was held in the NU Hotel. Overall it was a pretty great experience. 

 

This video is a self-portrait of myself reflecting my reaction to being bombarded by a load of demands from the institutions that I have experienced and how it makes me feel as if they are pulling away my true self to mold me into a self that is "desirable" in the art world.

"It Made Me" -  March, 2018 - Dimensions: 3 minutes and 31 seconds, 1920x1080 - Medium: Video

WARNING: Graphic gun sounds.

When I was creating this sound piece, I initially had the intentions of creating a short film with no visuals. Of course as I continued with this project it changed a bit, but still hold the intent of telling a story.

When I presented this piece in front of my classmates, they were terrified and I realized that I get satisfaction out of that reaction from my audience.

 

This sound piece is about fears of an end to everything we know no longer being mystified but becoming a reality.

"Unreal" -  December, 2017 - Dimensions: 1 minute 25 seconds, MP3 audio - Medium: Video

Documentation of Unreal

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"Revelation" -  December, 2017 - Dimensions: 2 mins 7 seconds, 1920x1080 - Medium: Video

"Revelation" -  December, 2017 - Dimensions: 1 min 11 seconds, 1920x1080 - Medium: Video

There are two versions to this film. The 2 minutes version was the original, while the 1 minute version is the remake after a critique I received from one of my film professors. He told to me remove all the other unnecessary distractions and just get straight to the point.

 

This short film is a sequel to my first Revelation film.

The characters in the film represent my reaction mentally and spiritually to the events that are happening around the world and it's connection to the book of Revelation in the Bible.

“Ecclesiastes” - November, 2017 - Dimensions: 2 minutes and 29 seconds, 640x480 - Medium: Video

This video art piece is a compilation of clips from people's lives starting from the day they came into this world to their moment of death and every other events that can possibly happen in between.

It's related to the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible.

The book in retrospect speaks of the meaning and point in life which is none because eventually, despite all you've accomplish and all you've experienced, you won't get to relive those moments when you're dead. So, why not live in the now rather than for the later because you don't know what the later has in store for you.

This was my ever short film that I created. It took a lot from asking permission from my pastor back in Connecticut to allow me to film in the church building and making sure that everyone would have a good enough schedule to use the building when there's no service. It took a lot of work, even for a film that was less than 2 minutes long. 

 

This short film is based on the book of Revelation in the Bible with scenes taken from YouTube videos capturing some of the verses written along with terrifying voices repeating the scriptures. 

“Revelation” - November, 2016 - Dimensions: 1 minute 35 seconds - Medium: Video

 

These are some of the installations that I created while in the School of Visual Arts. 

Of course while I was a high schooler thinking about the career I wanted to pursuit in college, I was thinking about architectural design. When I looked into schools with this program, they all required a lot of math classes. I did not want that, so I resigned and stuck to good old fashion fine arts. I never thought that I would be able to incorporate a small portion of my architectural desires with this discipline.

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"Execution of the Limited Self" -  April, 2018 - Dimensions: L= 7', W= 6', H= 7' - Medium: Video Projector, Ceramic tiles, wires, metal & wood electric chair

This was the last installation I've created. I did however get the chance to recreate this at the Satellite Art Fair in Brooklyn in the fall of 2019. 

When it came to this installation, it went through so many different sketch phases before it finally reached this form. At first I was going to create a sculpture of a person chained to the wall to represent craziness, but then I thought, why not allow people to be in that environment. So, with the help of my metal workshop professor, I created the electric chair to fully complete the many ceramic tiles that I meticulously made in my ceramic class.

 

This video installation is a metaphor to the craziness that I undergo as an artist who is told that certain things cannot be done due to set ways that have been made many years prior as to creating successfully, or from my interpretation of it, a creation deemed "white box" worthy. 
I've been told countless time to choose a medium, while in mind I have no medium of choice, and told what subject matters to cover; being a black woman, I've been told to create art about either being black, being a woman, or both. These works have already been made and are still being created today, I don't want to have to follow what everybody else is doing and recreate or be told what to create. This issue drives me insane because I'm trying to push past it, push past these barriers or limits based on my identity and create whatever I want to create with no apologies.

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This video installation is a passageway made of fabric with a video projected on it with short snippets of people's lives in random order of being born, living life and dying.

This video projected through the fabrics is a compilation of clips from people's lives starting from the day they came into this world to their moment of death and every other events that can possibly happen in between.

It's related to the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible.

The book in retrospect speaks of the meaning and point in life which is none because eventually, despite all you've accomplish and all you've experienced, you won't get to relive those moments when you're dead. So, why not live in the now rather than for the later because you don't know what the later has in store for you.

"Ecclesiastes" -  November, 2017 - Dimensions: 7' x 12' x 3' - Medium: Polyester fabric, chiffon fabric, projector and speakers

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This collaborative installation is inspired by the idea of post-humanity and its effects on the mind of a mutated robotic being. 

The mind of this creature is in an obsessive neurotic state of mind where they have no control over their actions, with the embroidery work in their hands, as well as no control of their minds, the video projecting from their head.

It has to do a lot with the idea that around a time as the apocalypse, people, or what's left of them would  try to find a balance or a tangibility to a no longer existing reality in life. 

~

The embroidery patterns reflecting the frenzy of the mind was created by the artist Soyoung Chang.

As for the figurine sculpture, video and installation, those were created by me.

"In A State of Mind" - March, 2017 - Dimensions: 4' x 4' x 2.5' - Medium: Aluminum tape, muslin fabric and a projector

Post-Humanity Collaboration Documentary Film
Obsessive Neurosis of Apocalyptica Part 2

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“Strength In Weakness” - November, 2016 - Dimensions: (Made to fill up the space) 2’ x 7’ x 8’  - Medium: Balloons and push pins.

This installation was a statement of people in power and how they abuse their rights to lead us by egotism and greed. The balloons represent the people and the push pins represent the power given to the leaders; a few people came in and began to pop the balloons to represent the abuse of authority given to people in power.

This Sculptural Installation is based on the book of Revelation in the Bible.

It's a mixed media collage of visuals from the words written in the book of Revelation as well as all of the chapters.

Overlaid are words from the mind of the influence the book has within the spirit.

As for the sculptural figure, it represents the many different people described within the book and a representation of all the metaphoric events.

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"Revelation" -  November, 2016 - Dimensions: 5 'x 4' x 3' - Medium: Paint on canvas, rope, and tape body casted sculpture

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When I was creating this installation, I was looking for a safe space because I was overwhelmed with finals and school.

I couldn't find that safe space to go to and hide, so I decided to create it. A space where I am able to think of my own thinking. I create drawings using lines that move melodically and I thought of how those drawings bring me a peace of mind, so I decided to create this installation around that. When I got to experience this space, it was more than a safe space, it was a space of anything you can desire. 

 

This installation is designed as a hallway that viewers may enter through the yarn center piece and walk through it to relieve themselves of stress and anxiety.

I allowed for two lights to illuminate the installation as well as the space to create a crystallized affect on the floor with the shadows.

"Metacognition" - April, 2017 - Dimensions: 7' x 8' x 2' - Medium: Black yarn, black nylon fabric, and poplar wood

 

Here you will see some of the many mixed media works I've created. I don't actually know how to categorize them, but  they are all a mixture of materials.

I decided to display only these few on my website because the others were more experimental and me exploring rather them being a strong piece able to stand alone.

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When I was creating this piece, I had no clue what I was doing. I just stated to rip things apart, and stick things down and write and rip and it was just a process on repetetion. I was surprised I didn't make a performance piece out of creating this piece, but so be it.

 

Crisis explores an inner battle that I experience daily where I ask myself questions about life. For example; who are we in this vast space and if anything is really real or are they all illusions that we deceive ourselves into believing are real?

So, this is the visual representation of my troubled mind.

"Crisis" - March 2018 - Dimensions: 46" x 34"  - Medium: Wood, fabric, chains, acrylic and house paint, paper, metal wire, resin, and plastic

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When it came to making this piece I was in a trance. I was destroying while also piecing things back together.

 

Healing Destructive Force is a nightmare that I had where I witnessed myself as a demonic entity in a dark space with no strength to fight or escape. I realized that I am afraid of myself because I have lost a part of my identity by trying to be like everyone else, I have lost my faith. 

So, in this piece, I represent this nightmare with ripped up bits of the Bible covered by broken and dusty stained clay along with shards of broken mirror. It's a look into the self at the self.

"Healing Destructive Force" - February 2018 - Dimensions: 23.5" x 28"  - Medium: Cardboard, bible pages, wood, glass mirror, string, black ink, clay, and acrylic paint

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This piece was so fun to make. It started out as just a body print before it evolved into this final piece. I love working with chains and fabric, so when I noticed some old fabric lying around my room, I started to rip and tear and put things back together again until I reached this point.

 

Breakthrough is about the surrealism of feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and not allowing it to keep you from improving your circumstances and situations around you. With that concept I added hand print on fabric to symbolize liberation and freedom to overcome with all the horrors of the world that suffocates you; the chains represent the suffocation.

"Breakthrough" - December, 2017 - Dimensions: 20" x 34"  -  Medium: Cardboard, news articles, paper, fabric, chains, and acrylic paint

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La Occultation by definition is the same in English as it does in French which means an object hidden behind another. It inspired the process of this mixed media piece and also the concept behind the entirety of the piece with a representation of "Big Brother" being the object to hide the truth of events occurring as a way of mass control of people.

"La Occultation" - November, 2017 - Dimensions: 40" x 40" - Medium: Cardboard, news articles, and paint.

 

This is the only drawing that I wanted to show from the many that I've done during my time in academia. It wasn't the only one with this style, but it was the main one that wasn't purely experimental, but rather it had a statement.

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L'esprit de la Musique Noir is a drawing that I made specifically for a group show in Harlem. At first, going into this I didn't know what the end result was going to be. I was just at peace and in a trance while creating this. I was listening to "Our Love" by Natalie Cole when I realized the shape of the continent of Africa was appearing in the center. I don't know if it was a subconscious decision or if it was magic, I went for it and decided to finish the drawing there. 

 

This drawing is about the entity of black music and the power that it has to allow someone to create something magical.

"L'esprit de la Musique Noir" - June, 2017 - Dimensions: 42" x 36" - Medium: Sharpie and pen on paper

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