GEORGIA SOUTHERN SENIOR IS DESIGNING HER FUTURE
“I’ve always been into the arts — whether through music, dance, singing or painting,” says the Georgia Southern senior. “As a child, I always knew that I was creative and no matter what job I have, it always calls for creativity.”
Lewis is an apparel design and studio art double major and art is everywhere in her life. It is in the paintings she creates in the studio and in the fashions she designs in the classroom. She says anything can inspire her. “I see art in everything — from the artists I study, to the people I follow on Instagram,” she says. “Some people can look at a blank wall, an empty room or even something as simple as a cup and see it as it is. But I see opportunity. I see art.”
A Natural Born Artist
Born and raised in Hephzibah, Georgia, Lewis comes from a talented and musical family. She says Georgia Southern has been the best fit for her, providing her with opportunities to develop her creative talents and professional skills. “The University environment is very intimate,” she explains. “My college experience has allowed me to engage with my professors and to get the help that I need.”
Lewis credits Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design professors Hope Wallace and Youngjoo Lee for pushing and challenging her. “They have been so helpful,” she notes. “They give students a lot of their time even when we don’t deserve it. I really appreciate them for that.”
The arts student creates her paintings and designs separately without one necessarily influencing the other. “There are only a few cases,” she says, “where I would incorporate my art or any art in my fashion unless I was focusing a series or collection on one or the other. For the most part, my paintings are my inner thoughts and feelings painted on a canvas or whatever the medium may be. But my fashions focus on creating a look.”
Canvases and Fashions
Lewis describes her paintings as “colorful, humorous, surreal, abstract, fun, and in some cases sexual and political.” She says people who are familiar with her work can usually recognize her style. “I think people identify my work by the techniques I use like the pour method, and the optical illusions that I incorporate in my designs,” she explains. “The pour method is just what the technique says to do — pour. I pour a huge amount of paint on my canvas and let gravity do the magic by tilting my canvas in different directions creating a marble design. The viewer also recognizes my work not only by my techniques, but by the elements or subjects I choose to paint. They often recur in my other work.”
The clothes she designs are a mixture of many eras and cultures, sophisticated and with a hint of sexy and artsy. “My designs,” she says, “are a statement. The statement that I am making is, ‘this is me.’ I like for everything I create to stand out and to always leave an impression on the viewer. I always put myself in my designs. No matter what I create, I always stay true to myself.”
The Georgia Southern student debuted her first clothing collection of wearable art in a Carrollton, Georgia, fashion show. She described the collection as “not cohesive in the way it looks, but in the pieces’ backstory or what I can make from my blank canvas.” Last spring, she was a member of the winning team that won the University’s “Dress in the Press” recycling competition. Using only newspaper and tape, students had two hours to create a look based on a Greek god or goddess. Her team chose Hades.
“We had previously sketched out a design and designated who was going to be making what when it was time to compete,” Lewis says. “Our design had a cape with horns as the collar, a pleated dress with a gold waist belt, and a gold horned shaft for accessories. We won!”
Lewis also works in sculpture. As a junior, her representation of a laptop created from wire, won “best in show” at the annual Form and Content exhibition hosted by the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art. The arts student admits she could never pick one platform over the other. “There isn’t a canvas large enough to compensate for what or how I need to express myself,” she says. “This also goes for fashion. Imagine if there was only one way you could express yourself?”
The designer and artist has big plans for her future. “I plan to design for Broadway shows, movies and maybe sports teams,” she says. “I also want to do a lot of creative directing from fashion shows, to movies, and other events. My ultimate goal is to own theme parks and museums.” — Sandra Bennett
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