Photo by Apryl Dukes-McDaniel
Newcomer Patrick Lewis Makes His Mark In Atlanta Art World
Local artist rediscovers talent after 15-year hiatus, creates enthusiastic following
“There’s nothing more invigorating than starting out with a blank canvas and ending up with a bold painting loaded with personality,” noted artist Patrick Lewis, with a grin as big as the brushstrokes on his fresh iconic portrait of Albert Einstein.
“I was definitely no Einstein when I put down these paintbrushes as a teenager,” he joked, adding a few finishing touches to the big 48x48 inch painting on the easel in his backyard studio. “But life took over with college, a career and family. Before you know it, fifteen-plus years had passed.”
Born and raised with a fascination for art in Kansas City, Missouri, Lewis began experimenting with charcoal and acrylics on paper and canvas at an early age, throughout middle and high school. He excelled in formal classes, painting portraits and landscapes, only to “regrettably hit the pause button on art,” Lewis recalls, remembering the day he packed up for Vanderbilt and packed away his passion for creating art to focus on an Economics degree.
Lewis would graduate, move south to Atlanta, marry his college sweetheart Katie, earn an MBA, enjoy a highly successful corporate finance career, and welcome his first of two daughters into the world before reconnecting with his artful soul.
Rediscovering the Art World is His Oyster
Even without a paintbrush in his hands for years, Patrick Lewis kept his love of art alive vicariously through other artists he enjoyed collecting. One artist’s work in particular, the seascapes and oysters by Bellamy Murphy, caught his eye during a weekend getaway with his wife in Savannah, Georgia.
“She paints in an expressive way, using beautiful, natural colors,” Lewis explained, describing the style of an artist who had an important influence on his return to the easel four years ago. “We purchased one of her paintings that features a single oyster, and I kept looking at it over and over again, thinking about painting again myself,” Lewis recalls of the very moment he became an artist again. “That painting helped to reignite the passion I kept pushing back in order to meet the demands of life.”
It was the seascape artist’s loose style in the oyster painting that resonated most with Lewis, who has a similar approach that has earned him a spot among Atlanta’s most popular emerging artists. “I just love painting a familiar scene or subject with expressive, loose brushstrokes, and in the end you still know what you’re looking at,” noted Lewis. “I enjoy using bold colors that may not belong in the real world but thrive in mine.”
Earning More Wall Space
Lewis’ paintings have grown along with his popularity among collectors and designers throughout Atlanta, the Southeast, and across the country. His big colorful American Flag painting, which measures 6 feet by 4 feet, is a favorite, a statement piece for homeowners from Georgia and Tennessee to New York and Connecticut.
“The larger canvases offer up so much more freedom to experiment with textures, colors and techniques, as long as you get a handful of features right,” Lewis revealed, as he made some sweeping brushstrokes of red and brown across a giant canvas. “If you get Einstein’s deep eyes, bushy eyebrows and whacky hair right, you’ve got the rest of the canvas to do whatever you like.”
Expressive portraits are among the 35-year-old artist’s most requested pieces by a fast-growing clientele, who’ve been introduced to Lewis’ work through his website at www.patricklewisart.com, social media, Atlanta’s Westside Market gallery, and featured in one of the Southeast’s most highly anticipated annual community events – The Trinity School Spotlight on Art.
Lewis’ art is constantly influenced and inspired by everyday life, city skylines, iconic figures, even cultural brands. His painting featuring nothing more than a Chick-fil-a Styrofoam cup has captured the imagination and coveted wall space of art enthusiasts across Atlanta, where Lewis’ family, like millions of others, identify with the fast-food favorite.
“That Chick-fil-a cup symbolizes comfort and consistency for me and my family. Whether it’s a road trip where you don’t know where you are, or it’s the end of a long day with no dinner plans, Chick-fil-a is that safety net,” Lewis explained, as he sketched out the familiar brand at the start of a new painting of the iconic cup. “I’m truly blessed and honored that so many people want a Patrick Lewis painting on a special wall in their home. That’s incredibly humbling,” Lewis smiled. “Better late than never I guess, when it comes to picking up that paintbrush again.”