• profiles

    Joe Lewis

    joe lewis, 62, artist

    The 20,000-Hour Rule

    Before Banksy and Shepard Fairey could command hundreds of thousands of dollars for their work, street art was far too low-brow for the rarefied tastes of the art market. And Joe Lewis couldn’t get enough of it.

    Together with friends, the conceptual artist opened up Fashion Moda in 1978. The South Bronx gallery spotlighted Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring and graffiti artists dominating the New York cityscape, like Daze and Koor. “We were making art because we had to do this,” says Lewis. “We didn’t think it was going to take us someplace.”

    Koor ended up having a painting in the Museum of Modern Art two years later, says Lewis. Scharf has had a successful career in his own right. And Haring’s legacy is far-reaching, including a piece on the Berlin Wall.

    As for Lewis? He recently stepped back from his position as dean of the UC Irvine Art School to create more. “I’m not going to be a rock musician — which is what I’ve always wanted to be — but I do write, and I do work,” he told me. “And I have a lot of things I’ve always thought about, and been in a lot of shows. Now I have the opportunity to just focus on that. It’s exciting. It’s exhilarating.”

    Yes, he wanted to spend more time with his teenage son and 11-year-old daughter. But he also felt time ticking. He’d begun lifting again and working on core strength to keep in shape, but he wanted to make sure his mind was agile as well. He wasn’t interested in repeating the mistakes of his father and others in his generation. It’s an AGEIST theme: do it now or never.

    “They didn’t take that experience they had and do something else with it,” he says. “I’m an artist. I believe that great art is made from experience. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a fabulous piece when you’re 21, but it takes you 40 years to learn how to paint, and takes you 40 years how to learn to be a photographer…To really know everything to know about what you’re doing. This 10,000-hours thing? I think it’s 20,000 hours, personally.”

    He’s also starting to downsize. A few weeks ago, he turned in his BMW (and really misses that sound system) and were his son not in high school, he and his wife would probably be somewhere more urban. But for now he’s traveling a lot more. He recently came back from a trip to Iceland, where he was sketching. He’s also got this wild idea to produce a fragrance — Black Out — an idea born when he saw Britney Spears had one. “I thought, ‘Shit, all of these stars have a perfume’,” he says. “ ‘Why don’t I have a one?’ ”

    Indeed. Why shouldn’t Joe have one?

     “I look at it from day to day,” he says. “I make plans, I have things I’d like to do. I don’t put very much weight on being 62.”


    Previous articleLola Faturoti
    Next articleRobert Bentley
    - Advertisement -

    Don't Miss Out!

    Sign up for the AGEIST newsletter! It's FREE and delivered to your inbox weekly.

    Andreas Tzortzis
    Andreas Tzortzis
    He has worked as a journalist for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Monocle Magazine from Berlin and London before leading Red Bull’s mainstream-facing content platform, The Red Bulletin, from Los Angeles. He recently returned to his hometown of San Francisco with his small family. dre@agei.st
    - Advertisement -


    TWICE fans make entrepreneur “Feel Special” and becomes global “ONCE Uncle” overnight

    This is the remarkable story of Jack Phan, a 42-year-old tech entrepreneur, CEO, and now Korean pop influencer. What started with a single tweet...

    Training with Joan, Age 73

    Training with Joan.Hard is not impossible. We have been following the odyssey of Joan via Instagram. We confess that all we know about her...

    Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, Anna Wintour: Is Cool Ageless?

    Seeing Iggy Pop (72) in the new Gucci Cruise 2020 video ad alongside Gucci Mane (39) and Sienna Miller (37)  gave us pause for...

    Why Did “Training With Joan” Get Such a Massive Reader Response?

    Every once in a while, we publish something that goes totally wild. Last week we did a short post on the Instagram account of...

    Linda Hamilton Is a Badass. Sarah Connor Is Back. Is She Ever.

    Linda Hamilton is 62. She looks 62. She is also the leading character of a massive blockbuster action film: Terminator Dark Fate. Let's reflect...

    Crazy for Cryo (therapy). At Minus 185 Degrees?

    Why would anyone pay money to step into a chamber that is about as toasty as the dark side of the moon? Self-humiliation? Actually,...