ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Lewis Derogene
CREATRIX Magazine: What made you become a performance artist?
Lewis Derogene: I started off as a painter before I expanded my art practice to other mediums. I was first exposed to performance art through a friend who asked me to be an audience. I had no clue what performance art was, but I did have an idea that it requires a person doing some type of acting. I was close, but I wasn’t right. After his live performance I asked him a few questions about what this art form was and he told me of a class that he was taking in SVA, we both went to the same school, and I signed up for that class and fell in love with performance art. I was introduced to so many concepts of using the whole or parts of the body to represent an idea and it was and still is mind blowing. I appreciate the freedom of performance art and how far it can carry a concept.
CXM: Online or LIVE ART?
LD: I say both online and live. I think they both cater to different types of persons. The introvert who gets really bad social anxiety can appreciate work online while the social butterfly can go live and appreciate art just the same. The only thing is with live art, anyone gets the opportunity to interact with the artist and get a feel for who they are.
CXM: Where are we heading as a species / country / culture?
LD: This country, this world is heading straight for hell. Excuse me, but with all the bad of being human on this planet and how we hold ourselves very stubbornly, change is nowhere near the corner. We have racist people running things, we have selfish and greedy money eaters ruling the world and not caring for the consequences of killing the planet that sustains us. We’re fighting for change, we’re fighting to survive, we’re fighting for the human race, but the human race is acting like it doesn’t need to be saved. We don’t really know what’s gonna happen a few years from now, so we aim for then, rather than the now and it’s crazy.
CXM: What are your future plans?
LD: My future plans are to get myself out of the institutional debt that I placed myself in by going to art school in NYC. I also plan to create a space for Black and Brown creatives of all ages to freely work on their art and show their work. So many places will do the same, but turn around and ask a starving artist, emerging artist, struggling artists, however you want to name them for money to pay for that space. I’ve been and still am one of those artists who has to find a way to pay for space and exposure and I hope that one day I can be on the other side and provide free service for Black and Brown artists who are creating in their tiny bedrooms, who use their bed sheets as backdrops, who hunch over their computers editing their work to make it seem effortless and like they own a studio. One day I’m going to be able to give back to my community.
CXM: Martha Wilson once said: “All performance art is dealing with trauma”? What’s your take on it?
LD: I gotta say I disagree with Martha Wilson. Performance art can be about dealing with trauma, but it can also be a narrative of a love story, of a random happy moment in the kitchen, it can be about literally anything in life and life is not just sour lemons. There are some good things in life and we can’t push them to the side or ignore them and act as if they don’t exist just because there are more bad times.
CXM: Thank you, PhenomenaLewis! We are looking forward to seeing your work on August 22nd at LIC LIVE ART organized by Local Project Art Space!
As a media sponsor of LIC LIVE ART festival CREATRIX Magazine interviews all participating artists in anticipation of the upcoming event, taking place on August 22nd at Culture Lab LIC at The Plaxall Gallery, and organized by Local Project Art Space.
Lewis Derogene, aka PhenomenaLewis is a multimedia artist from Haiti and is currently based in CT and NY. PhenomenaLewis’s main medium is digital photography, but she works with drawing, painting, mixed media, sculpture, video, performance and poetry. Her works have to do with the state of being human involving the mind’s influences from its surroundings and that can be spiritual, political, sociological, and other elements. There are many inspiring factors that contribute to her work besides people and their behaviors; music and different geographical locations.
Follow Lewis Derogene on IG: @PhenomenaLewis