The art world calls my art box sculptures mixed media or assemblage. Others call my art category “outsider folk art” which only means that I am not a formally trained artist.
Whatever you call them, my art box sculptures are inspired by Joseph Cornell whose work I first enjoyed over 35 years ago at the Chicago Art Institute. Plus, in the 1980s, within walking distance of the California State Capitol, I launched City Gallery so who knows how many emerging contemporary Northern California artists have influenced me.
My materials are found ephemera, salvage or reclaimed objects which means that many days of the week I can be found rummaging through junkyards, thrift shops, yard sales and the occasional antique collectibles fair.
Reflecting my interest in the art of the written word, each of my boxes is tombstoned with a quotation that invites us to think…or laugh. Not that it matters to your perception of the work itself, but my all-time favorite sculptor is Rodin. I don’t have a single favorite painter, but of late, Kerry James Marshall lights me up. To keep some creative perspective, I frequently listen to Barbra Streisand sing Putting It Together.
I work under the diligent supervision of my cat named Marshmallow.
In addition to conjuring up the visual idea itself, a single box requires approximately two weeks from inception to completion. In hours, I’m guessing 25 to 35 hours of actual production. The big variable is how long the various glues take to dry. Speaking of glue, it is almost certainly a misnomer to call me an artist. Glueist is closer to the truth of it. Call me a glueist.
I am a Distinguished Artist in Residence which, in case you are wondering, means that I work at home. View from my studio pictured above. Also, I’m told that my art work is so highly regarded that in the United Kingdom there is national holiday named for it: Boxing Day.
My box sculptures are in the public and private art collections of…well, check out Collected Art Boxes. To keep my artwork as affordable as possible, no artwork costs more than $250 (shipping not included).
To discuss my art, email me: Jonathan@JonathanCLewis.com.
To make our world a better place, if you are a Northern California arts organization or social justice nonprofit, and if you would like one of my art boxes donated to sell, raffle or auction at your next fundraiser, please reach out.
Unrelated to the art world per se, if you are looking for my book on social justice work, click your way over to The Unfinished Social Entrepreneur. To check out the Table of Contents (and some nice things readers said about the book), click here. And, for good measure, here is the Community Conversation Guide.