Artists in their own words: Kate Lewis

Kate Lewis (Photos by: Kelley Crawford)

Who: Kate Lewis

What: Artist

Where: Central Business District by way of Logan Square in Chicago

Artists chosen location for interview: Old No. 77 Hotel in the artist residency suit


Q: When is a time you would want someone to hypnotize you?

KL: On a full moon because there seems to be something to that. That seems to be when all the witchery is out and about, and there is something magical about those times. There would have to be something wild that comes out of me during one of those full moons. 

And I would want the experience  to be free reign–let all the monsters loose–and I wouldn’t want to remember any of it. I hope I would start howling (laughing), and although I wouldn’t want to have any memory of the night, I would want everyone else I was with to remember what I did and tell me the stories retrospectively.

Art by Kate Lewis (Photos by: Kelley Crawford)

Q: What’s a pool that you vividly remember?

KL: I’m from Palm Beach County in Florida, and down in Palm Beach Island they have all these really big mansions. A lot of hurricanes used to come through there during hurricane season, and I remember one hurricane–Hurricane Floyd–really well. The people would throw up their shutters and evacuate when hurricanes would come through, and you could tell who was still out of town after the hurricane because of those shutters.

There was this great bike trail you could take in Palm Beach that would ride you by all these mansions, and my buddy and I would take that bike trail all the time. When we saw a house with the shutters up, even though the hurricane was long gone, we knew we could jump in their pools.

These were life of the luxury pools that we would just hop in. One of them had foundations with little boys spitting out water everywhere. We’d swim for the afternoon, and it was fantastic.

Of course, there was no telling if there were security cameras, but the hurricane probably took care of those.

But I was not always swimming in luxury. We also had all these ponds around Florida where the slime and algae would seep in, but that didn’t stop us from going in those swampy waters. My parents actually built a zip line that went from our house to an island across the pond, and we’d drop into the pond on the way to that island.

Q: What’s a question that if it was never answered you think would ruin you?

KL: Is there life in outer space? That’s one of those itching questions that I want to be okay with not knowing, but when it come to the infinitude of the universe, I think I’m just dying to know.

Another one I really want to know is what plays a bigger factor in life–nature or nurture. I’d like to think that nurture plays a bigger role so we can have some sort of control over outcomes. Saying those words out loud sounds so strange because I’m not usually one to state, ‘We want control.’ But nurture being the bigger factor gives more hope that things can change.

Q: How would you describe your work as an ecosystem?

KL: All of my work is architectural at this point, so it almost seems like an ecosystem of its own, but an urban ecosystem rather than the coniferous rainforest we might typically think of when we think of an ecosystem.

It’s ironic that I create something so industrial because I am such a natural girl. I love being in the ocean and surfing, so when these lines and architectural pieces come out of me I wonder ‘why this?’

Maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that I studied math in college, and I really love math. When I create these drawings and pieces, I feel like it is rubbing the same part of my brain that math was. Obviously, there is some geometry to the work. There is making hard lines, having a right and a wrong way to draw something, and that corresponds with that love of math I have. Yet, when I’m out in nature surrounded by misshapen waters or crazy mountains I’m in absolute love.

So, as an ecosystem, am I allowed to make up my own (laughing)?

I have to say, though, that creating off of the buildings in New Orleans that are dilapidated or even falling in on themselves has been such a new and interesting challenge. I often find myself asking, ‘What is going on with this house?’ There’s a lovely charm to that.


In order to learn more about Kate Lewis and her work, you can follow her on Instagram.  


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