Birds and More: The Art of Lewis Cisle

Lewis Cisle with Stewie"I have always seen the artist as a shaman, a magician, a healer to his culture, and his art as a form of magic. He mediates between his powers of understanding and what cannot be understood, thereby enlarging the scope of the comprehensible environment. A work of art can, on a broad cultural level, represent the values of an entire social group, and on a more specific level, the values of a family or an individual. With each public sculpture we display, or painting we hang in our office or home, we make a declaration. We declare, 'This is what I stand for; these are the things for which I live; these are the things that make life worth living.' As each artist coaxes the muses to reveal some small truth in each work; each art lover acquires and assembles these revelations about themselves in such a way as to illuminate their present, their past, and the pathway of their futures."


Lewis Cisle is a complex artist whose artistic expression has both depth and range. His subjects reflect the contrasts of a small industrial town with the rural beauty of Southwestern Ohio, where he was born and raised. Equally important to his art are his boyhood experiences growing up in a world at war. His beautiful wildlife paintings and the delightful paintings of his own dogs are in striking contrast to other works, such as Man Mending the Moon, When I Was a Boy the World Was at War and Unleashing the Dogs of War.

Interested in art since he was five, Lewis's first painting was executed on a basement window using a mayonnaise jar of white enamel and a nail for a brush. Encouraged by his aunt Eula, a competent watercolorist, art became a source of joy and self expression. His formal artistic training began a the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he received a Diploma of Fine Arts. He continued his studies at Miami University (Oxford, OH), where he received a BFA in Printmaking; the Tyler School of Art, Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), receiving an MFA in Printmaking; Penland School of Crafts (Penland, NC), to study ceramics; and the College of Mount Saint Joseph (Cincinnati, OH), where he received his K-12 teaching certification.

While maintaining a career as a fine artist, Lewis has taught in colleges, universities, schools, and art centers throughout the Eastern United States. He has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including a Ford Foundation Grant for the study of printmaking and the Roger Anliker Award for Drawing. He has exhibited his artwork nationally and internationally and his works can be found in both private collections and museums across the globe.

For the last decade or more, Lewis's work has focused on the worldwide environmental crisis, often using allegory as a means of expressing the reality of these issues. His work has always included a variety of animals, but most recently the emphasis has been on birds and dogs. Even these subjects have become more allegorical in his recent work. He has exhibited his bird paintings nationally, including several occasions in the prestigious Birds in Art exhibitions at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Lewis presently paints in Swanville, Maine, where he resides with his wife and their eleven canine companions.

Some Influences On My Art

Kathe Kollwitz
Francisco Goya
Diego Rivera
Pete Seeger
Ghandi
Paramahansa Yogananda
Karl Marx
Pablo Picasso
Federico Fellini

Akira Kurosawa
Joseph Campbell
Chief Seattle
World War II
Carl Jung
Louis Hine
Richard Wright
Paul Robeson
Albrecht Dürer

Louis Jacques
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Mexican Folk Art
NC Wyeth
Rembrandt Van Rijn
Bob Dylan
The Beatles

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