SOTB: Joel Lewis

 Joel Lewis is a former student of the College of Further Education. Here he tells us all about his work Five Lines which is currently on show through December as part of Six of the Best in the greenhouse.

Can you describe the concerns of your work including what ideas, themes and research sources influence and are present in it?
The concept behind my work is simply how to hang up a piece of paper.
When I was at college I was working with how to hang up art work, I looked at how this is done in art galleries and exhibitions, people use screws and string or wire, nails etc.

Five Lines, 2012 in the greenhouse

So I began experimenting using tape as well and I thought about the best way to display a piece of paper, do you put a screw through it?
Or put tape across it? If so where would you put the tape? For example in the studio people would naturally put the tape across the corners. In terms of research I looked at artists like Francois Morellet and Barnett Newman particularly their use of line. I was trying to achieve the most simple and aesthetically pleasing way of hanging the paper.

What medium/s did you use to create your final year piece and why did you choose this/these medium?
Well earlier I mentioned that I used paper and tape but more specifically the tape I use is ‘standard electrical tape’. I did experiment with masking tape but it wasn’t strong enough to hold a piece of paper and had an imperfect surface, Duct tape was too thick and so the electrical tape was the perfect choice. I like the matt finish that it has; it looks clean and suits the paper. I also liked the range of colours that electrical tape comes in.

What aspect of the making of your work was the most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of making my work was definitely getting to the final point of hanging it. I tried so many different ways and just when you think you have a final solution that is perfect there is another way to explore. Working with just paper and tape there are so many things to consider, so yeah the hardest point was knowing when to say that’s it, it’s finished. I’m really particular about the aesthetic that I want.

Can you see yourself developing the work you have made? If so what themes and ideas would you address?
There are so many ways that I could develop this work. I could consider other variations on hanging the paper, or even use other materials such as string and weights. I think my work at the moment is as simple as it’s ever going to get using the same materials. The Artist Daniel Eatock uses electrical and cellotape to create installations by stretching it across a room and sticking things to it or sticking various tapes to a wall and seeing the different times it takes for them to fall off, I could explore something more three dimensional like this.

What does the immediate future hold for you and how does Art fit into that future?
Right now I’m working at LR&D which is a design and advertising agency, so I’m doing a lot of graphic design which is great and very interesting and I’m learning to use design software such as Adobe illustrator and InDesign. I always think of new ideas for my work but it’s being able to implement these ideas that is difficult, at the moment I am not making any work but in the future I do intend to get back into making. Studying Art has given me a real eye for detail and analytical skills.

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