A big hello to 24-year-old Becky Lewis, a Nottingham/Leicester-based illustrator. Becky grew up in Wales, and loves castles (real castles, not stately homes) and the circus – ‘more accurately, I love the memory of what a circus used to be’.
Becky is also a big advocate of ‘the bizarre and the macarbe when it has an aura of innocence’. Finnish punk band Hanoi Rocks are her musical favourites, and films that she could watch over and over include 12 Angry Men, All About Eve, Breakfast on Pluto and Fellini’s Roma. She is also a fan of root beer: ‘it’s amazing,’ she says. ‘Why we don’t sell it here more widely is a mystery’.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I graduated from Loughborugh University School of Art and Design in 2009 having studied Visual Communication: Illustration with Animation. I work full time in a clerical which means I don’t get as much time as I would like to do any creative work. I went through a very, very dry patch after university of just not creating anything. I started having dreams of being back at school and always being late and not studying for exams. All because I felt that I was wasting all these skills I learnt at university. So I try to keep myself busy now by drawing. It keeps my moral up. I don’t like portmanteau words, in fact I hate them, with the exception of brunch, because as far as I am aware this is an actual dish now (consisting of full English breakfast and chips).
What are your inspirations?
My biggest inspiration in life is Bette Davis. I look at her and I am proud of everything she achieved and I like to try and run my life to a ‘What would Bette do?’ style mantra. I could only dream of her confidence. ‘I always had the will to win. I felt it baking cookies. They had to be the best cookies anyone baked.’
Stories inspire me. I love the thought of two sides to every story, and how one thing can be perceived in a certain way, and then again in a completely different way by someone else, which is probably why 12 Angry Men is my favourite film. I also consider Marie Antoinette an inspiration. I bet out of all the queens ever, she made the most of it.
What’s your favourite piece of work you have produced?
My favourite piece I have produced would have to be this portrait of a clown I made through mixed media. I was working on the circus for my dissertation, and became fascinated by people’s fear of clowns. This piece is based on something someone said when discussing why they don’t like clowns ‘I could see his stubble through his make-up’. It was also a lot of fun to make.
I really like M Sasek’s work. I tried collecting is republished books but I ran out of funding. I love Toulouse-Lautrec’s sketches, Edward Hopper’s etchings, and William Turner’s paintings. On a more contemporary level Jon Klassen’s work fascinates me. The ideas are so clever. Too clever!
All images © Becky Lewis. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.