Anthony Lewellen


  • Fight Cloud


This may be the worst artist statement you ever read because it will give you little insight into why I do what I do. For this I apologize. I could easily say how I make work, but to say why is much more difficult. Also there is the fact that the reason why always changes. Why I make one thing may be very different from why I make another, something I rarely know myself. For me the making of art is like the living of life, in both cases I inevitably have more questions than answers. Nevertheless the compulsion is to press on, to go on living, to go on making, the depth and meaning of doing so well hidden like a current that carries us along to unknown places. What I do know, which isn’t much, will have to suffice so here it is. I have found in retrospect that most of my work is in some way autobiographical though not intentionally. I have also found that the process by which I make work is just as important to me as the final outcome. I have learned too, that inspiration is little more than a point in the right direction, a glimpse at what might be with the hard and mundane work of a matter still ahead and it’s usually a fight to get anything close to done. Very simply, I make work I feel is worth making. Work that in the end I hope might speak for itself.


Born in Chicago in 1971 Anthony Lewellen is a multidisciplinary art maker working in various mediums, including drawing, painting, printmaking, installation and more recently animation, video and projection mapping. In his formative years he was an innovative figure within Chicago’s graffiti culture and made a name for himself in the Midwest and beyond hallmarked by street work that featured a simple, bold palette and emotionally complex characters born out of direct observation and digestion of life in the city. Lewellen’s work is always building upon a highly personalized visual vocabulary that continues to evolve and grow. The elements of this enigmatic pictorial language are quintessentially Midwestern and even more precisely quintessentially Chicago. These elements consistently appear in his work regardless of the medium and seem to evoke unspoken narratives written in the urban landscape like images torn from a book. Lewellen has also worked commercially as an illustrator, designer and art director for more than a decade and appropriates traditional commercial art techniques into his work. He is now is solely focused on a personal studio practice and continues to live and work on the city’s North side.


Latex, ink, acrylic and enamel on plywood
61 × 44 inches