Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Portrait Illustration: Tom Lewis (1940-2008) Artist/Activist

Tom Lewis (1940-2008), 2012. By Travis Simpkins

     The first time I was set to meet Tom Lewis was at the unveiling of a mixed-media mural he had made for the Community Health Center, but he was not there. Like so many times before, Tom had been arrested, quickly convicted and was serving a prison sentence. The second time I was supposed to meet him, once again, he was behind bars. His countless acts of Civil Disobedience, for which he thoroughly believed in and sacrificed his freedom for, led to his numerous incarcerations both years before and years after I finally met him in 2000. When I did get to know Tom quite well, he was my Printmaking Professor at Anna Maria College, and later, my co-worker at the Worcester Art Museum. In contrast to the notion of an angry protester, Tom was, perhaps, the nicest, most caring, generous and humble man I have ever known. Even when he told me about his upcoming protests, he would speak very nonchalantly, "I'm planning to get about three months for this..." Tom was an amazing human being (that always placed others before himself) and a tremendously talented artist. The protests often overshadowed his role as an artist, but in my eyes, he remains one of the best. I feel honored to have known him, and he is dearly missed.

Cops and Peace Demonstrators. By Tom Lewis

Democracy Now remembers Tom Lewis


Tom Lewis and others burning draft records- Catonsville, Maryland- 1968

Tom Lewis talks about his Art and the Catonsville Nine


EZEKIEL, 1996. By Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis (1940-2008)