An interview with Bill Lewis

Describe what you do as a creative.

I am a poet and writer of short fiction, sometimes I also write non fiction. I paint, draw, make  prints, take photographs and recently started making digital art.

Tell us briefly about yourself so we understand where you come from. What’s your story? What’s your background?

My parents were Kentish rural working class, I grew up on a farm where my dad worked. He had been a Shepherd but the farm did not have sheep so he did a bit of everything. I now live in The Medway Towns.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I knew when I was five years old I was an artist.

How did you begin doing what you do? How did it all start? Did you go to art school? Did you start your practice as a hobby? Etc...

I used to draw on the wall until my mother bought be drawing pads. Later I discovered reading and I have read four or five books a month since I was a teenager. I worked in factories, warehouses, shops and was even a wine waiter for a short while. My last job was with the NHS.

I went to Art college when I was 25 but only did one year. I started to do poetry readings and get work published. I was founder member of The Medway Poets group and also a founding member of Stuckism (an international art movement). I have been a fulltime Writer/Artist since 1982.

What turns on your creativity? What triggers your need to create and to make art?

The world is a very interesting place, there is always something to see and I am never bored.

What do you like best about your work?

How it makes other people feel

When were you most satisfied in your work? What is your golden moment so far?

There were several. When I sold my first stories to magazines. When I gave my first lecture at the University of Rhode Island to an audience of University Professors. When my work appeared
in an Anthology with Neil Gaiman. The night I won the Literature award for The Medway Council Art and Design Awards. Reading with Claribel Alegria In Nicaragua in 1989. Being appointed
Writer-in-Residence at The Brighton Festival in 1985. There have been many more highlights. I have lead an interesting life.

Describe a memorable response to your work? The way people responded to a piece of your work? What was their reaction? What did they say?

A woman came up to me after a reading in the USA and told me her brother tried to kill himself and my poetry had helped her deal with it.

Also reading to some 10 and 11 year olds in Medway, I use a drum with some of my poems, when I started singing the poem and playing the drum they started clapping along to the beat.

What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?

Always when a new book is about to be published.

What is your dream project?

I have several:
1) to bring out a book of my photographs
2) a book of my art
3) a book of short stories
4) a CD of my poems
5) to go on a paid reading tour one last time before I am too old

Which artists / creative people are your heroes or inspiring figures?

In writing: Claribel Alegria, Eduardo Galeano, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Peter Straub, Martin Espada, Sam Shepard, and songwriters Victor Jara and Jacques Brel.

Painters who have inspired me are Ana Maria Pacheco, John Craxton, L Ring and Paula Rego.

Your idea of happiness?

Being with my wife Ann.

What art/creativity related book should everyone read?

One Hundred Years or Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Tell us a lesson life has taught you.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open up for you.

 

August 2022

 

See Bill’s profile HERE