For the inaugural festival, the Opera Festival of Chicago brought in Chicago-based multimedia artist Cydney Lewis to create evocative and original artwork. We sat down with Ms. Lewis to discuss more about her work and creative process.
Cydney Lewis is a Chicago-based multimedia artist with a distinguished multidisciplinary background. She began in architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, where she received a BS in Architectural Studies; she also attended the L’École D’architecture de Versailles, France. The fluidity of her ability to transform materials reflects her mastery of ballet as well as her endeavors in film. Her art is held in private collections around the world, and has been exhibited widely, at venues including the Union League Chicago, Saugatuck Center of the Arts, Hyde Park Art Center, and The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. She has received various honors, among them residencies with Chicago Public Schools and Lyseloth Musikerwohnhaus Basel, Switzerland, as well as awards including Best in Show at Governor State University and the Black Creativity/Green Art Award from the Museum of Science and Industry.
2021 Season Artwork
What was your process creating these pictures for the festival?
I was led by the commonality of the storylines. I wanted to create a sense of deception, mystery and lies. I felt the elements of fire (passion), water (environment) and air (smoking) were key components to the three operas. I currently work through drawing and collage. I found a dress that reminded me of a modern cloak and decided to use it to inspire an eruption of fire on water to inspire tranquility, darkness and despair. As water puts out fire it also creates steam. This concept motivated the imagery.
How do you describe your artistic method?
Who inspires you?
Everyday life inspires me. I’m inspired to live in the present, therefore, who inspires me is ever changing.
You work in mixed media, how did you come to this means of creation?
My father is an artist and art educator. When I was young I was introduced to art through asking the question, “What could this become?”
An egg carton became a flower arrangement, paper rolls became a city. I still begin with that question in mind, be it the materials or the creation itself.
For anyone who wants to become an artist / designer what advice would you give them?
Develop your imagination, play, create and share.
What are you working on now and where can we see your work?
I am working on mixed media collages for upcoming gallery exhibits. My work can be seen and purchased at https://www.cydneylewis.com/ and http://www.elephantroomgallery.com/cydneymlewis.html
Thank you to Cydney Lewis for her time and incredible artwork for the festival.
Tickets for the 2021 festival are available now.