Artist Spotlights Series:
Lewis Spaulding, Photographer

Welcome to the Artist Spotlights Series, a collection of interviews with local artists. I am pleased to introduce you to Lewis Spaulding, a photographer currently living and working on San Juan Island Washington. Read on to learn about Lewis' thoughts on making artwork, her daily schedule, artists she admires, and lots of fun stuff -- thanks for visiting!

If you like this page, read more interviews at Artist Spotlights.

Note: click any image on this page to view a larger version of the image.

Lewis Spaulding, photographer, San Juan Islands Washington.
Please share a brief biography, including where you’re from and how you got started as an artist.
I spent my first 18 years in the green mountains of VT. It was there that I felt a deepening relationship with the natural world. I began hiking in those hills with a canvas bag strapped to a wooden pack frame. Snowshoeing in the winter months, getting lost (actually never lost, just confused) and becoming one with the cold. After I left Vermont for Arizona I began writing poetry and developing an interest in photography.

Why do you do what you do?
It is the mystery of it all. I was a printmaker for twenty plus years and I never grew tired of pulling the squeegee and lifting the screen to reveal a new image. Photography of course follows that same line of mystery, clicking on the shutter and then at some point down the line the image magically emerges. I like cosmology, reading about various theories of the universe. I might have pursued physics for the mystery of it all.

Lewis Spaulding, photographer, San Juan Islands Washington.
What jobs have you done, other than being an artist?
My summers in high school were spent working on construction. I lost my fear of heights rather quickly sitting 200 ft up in a sling chair nailing metal siding on a grain elevator. After college I spent two unforgettable years in VISTA working on a reservation with Native Americans.

What do you like/dislike about the art world?
One particular problem with making a living by selling your art is that gray area you step into creating a "product" that will sell while remaining true to yourself.

Lewis Spaulding, photographer, San Juan Islands Washington.
What is “creativity”?
Everyone has some form of creativity dwelling in their respective spirit. It is just a matter of finding the form of expression that is right for you and the desire to bring it forth.

Lewis Spaulding, photographer, San Juan Islands Washington.

How much time do you spend doing your work every week?
A fair guess would be about thirty hours a week. I seem to work better when there are deadlines.

Has your work changed over time? How?
Yes, it is now much less obscure or maybe more so?

Lewis Spaulding, photographer, San Juan Islands Washington.
What artist(s) would you most like to be compared to?
If I were to choose an artist as a mentor it would be Morris Graves. I certainly wouldn't be so bold as to compare myself to him, however I would feel honored if we were traveling on the same path.

If there was no chance of ever being paid, would you still do your work?
I know it is difficult to keep money out of the equation but it really shouldn't be a factor. I would always express myself in some form.

Describe yourself in 3 words.
musingly droll mystic

Lewis Spaulding, photographer, San Juan Islands Washington.Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have begun to experiment with encaustic and would like to continue with that media. I have also returned to writing poetry and would like to publish a series of chapbooks.

Any advice for aspiring artists?
To quote Joseph Campbell, "follow your bliss".

This interview with Lewis Spaulding for the Artist Spotlights Series was completed on June 5, 2012. For more information about Lewis and his work, please visit his website.

Read more Artist Spotlights:
Robin Atkins, Patti Barker, Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso, Cinda Sue Dow, Beth Hetrick, Peggy Sue McRae, Jan Murphy, Kevin Roth, Tom Small, Nancy Spaulding, Margaret Thorson, Virginia Van Camp, Paula West.

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