“Study human anatomy! Understand how the human form comes together”
Allan J. Lewis is a talented American artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother made drawings for him when he was a young boy and he has been fascinated by figure drawing ever since. Soon, he earned a reputation as a talented artist in his community, participated in several art contests and decided to pursue a professional career as a painter.
Lewis continued his studies at the University of Maryland University, The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Georgia State University. He has earned several awards such as the Columbia College Art Merit Award, the Benedict College Art Award, and the Georgia National Fair Art Competition. Working mostly with oil, his beautiful paintings and delicate brushwork can arouse deep emotions in the viewer.
In this Q&A, artist Allen Lewis shares with PoseSpace how he discovered art, which artists have influenced his work, what he recommends young artists to do during the COVID-19 pandemic and more:
When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?
As a small child, I watched my mother draw caricatures of my siblings and me. Although she is not an artist beyond doodling, she did capture our likeness. To me it was magic, and I had to try it. I was also fascinated with the family bible we kept on our coffee table. When my mother explained to me that they were not photographs but paintings, I had to learn how those artists made such life like images.
How do you start a work— do you have any rituals?
Yes, I sketch my images onto the canvas using a 2B pencil. The drawings are very detailed. While drawing, I visualize the colors I will be using. I am very cognitive of the tints, tones, and shades that I will use in the painting.
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What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?
Very important! I attend live studio sessions here in Atlanta; however, I use the photos I have purchased from PoseSpace too. Using your images have help me improve my drawing skills.
What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?
I love this site. It has taken the worry out of copywrite infringement for me as a professional artist. I do not have a favorite model. All the models are great! And, the quality of the images is simply outstanding.
Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?
Tarleton Blackwell, my first art teacher.
What’s been your greatest artistic success?
Being accepted into national art competitions.
What life experiences have influenced your work?
Traveling to different museums around the world and seeing first-hand the works of the great masters. Also, attending workshops with some of today’s great painters. Workshops offer much more than formal art classes. My work is greatly influenced by the following artists: Rembrandt, Simmie Knox, Jeremy Lipking, Dean L. Mitchell, David Leffel, Odd Nerdrum, Ron Hicks, Jeremy Mann, and so many more.
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, what advice would you give to young artists who are staying home?
Study human anatomy! Understand how the human form comes together. Doing this will go a long way in utilizing the photo references your company provide. Also, study the elements and principles of design; especially color theory.
Allen J. Lewis’ website: http://www.aljulew.com
Interview by Andrea Miliani