MACON VISIONARY: Kevin "Scene" Lewis
Kevin “Scene” Lewis is Middle Georgia Times’ newest Macon Visionary. While Lewis actually lives in Warner Robins, he is in love with Macon and its citizens. Lewis story about how he ended up in middle Georgia has drama, a true love story, and an interesting series of fortunate events.
Growing up in Virginia, Lewis never knew his family connection to Macon. He was under the impression that his family had always lived in Ohio because that was where he was born. It wasn’t until after he had moved to Warner Robins and started to work in Macon that he found out that his grandfather was born here.
Lewis was born in Ohio but spend the years of his youth in Virginia. His love of art got him in trouble early in life when he started painting graffiti. By his own description he was a “knucklehead” growing up. Both his family and a high school art teacher encouraged him to focus on his art skills.
“I was an artistic kid but I had so many good people behind me, pushing me and kicking me,” Lewis said.
Lewis graduated high school and went to Virginia Commonwealth University where he took a double major. While taking classes in the Communication Arts Lewis also learned about Illustration. He quickly learned that he did not like some kinds of art like typography. He was happy to realize that there were ways that he could actually make a living as an artist.
After graduating near the top of his class, Lewis decided to join some of his college friends who were already living in California. He loaded up his car and took his large Bull Mastiff dog on the long road trip from Virginia to California.
As fate would have it, Lewis wasn’t meant to make it to California. His car broke down in Kansas and he spent some time there getting funds up to pay for the repairs. He met a young woman named Reatrina who was serving her first year in the Air Force. Lewis said her reaction to his dog, which often intimidated people, was what first caught his interest.
“He was about 140 pounds and she was the first girl that wasn’t scared of him, that wasn’t all grossed out because of the drool. I never met anyone like her before, which intrigued me beyond anything,” Lewis said.
Lewis would marry Reatrina three years later in 2002. Because of her Air Force career they were soon traveling around the world. Besides several countries overseas, he and his wife also lived in Washington, D.C.
In D.C. Lewis found an art scene wasn't encouraging to young, new artists. He helped other artists with their art for two years before he was finally able to show what he could do. While there he painted graffiti art, murals, and did gallery shows.
Lewis ended up in middle Georgia because his wife was born in the town of Unadilla. He was shocked when he found out how welcoming the arts scene was.
“I walked into Macon Arts Alliance and said, “I want to paint something” and they said, “Here, go for it!”, Lewis said. Soon after he had created some art work at Triangle Arts Macon and had his own art show.
After growing up in Youngstown and living in D.C. and other major metropolises, Lewis was also surprised by the friendliness of the people in Macon.
“When I first got here I remember driving and seeing all kinds of people wave and I said to my wife “You’re popular!”. She was like, “That is what they do here.”…I love it!”, Lewis said.
His latest impressive and colorful mural is on the side of the old First Congressional Church and the Bobby Jones Performing Arts Center. It shows a young woman standing and looking into the distance. Small mirrors around the edges reflect sunlight in sparkles at the viewer.
The mural came about thanks in part to a grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. The owner of the building is Tanja Khabir. Khabir took a community poll about what they wanted to see in the building when she purchased it. Based on the majority of votes, she is planning on opening a coffee shop or bookstore at some point in the future.
Lewis plans on completing two more large murals that are connected to the theme of the first. He is planning on a motif exploring the phases of life, ending with a senior citizen who will represent wisdom.
"I just want to keep letting the city know that I know I'm not from here but this is my home. My grandfather was from here and I want to put roots here in the city and make an impact," Lewis said.
Lewis’ art can be seen at Triangle Arts Macon as well as other places around middle Georgia as well as his website.