Creative Space: Jen Lewis - cycling icons and you
Jen Lewis’s vintage-tinged re-imaginings of cycling people, places and events were kick-started by her own cycling adventure. Here, we get to the bottom of the story that started it all and find out how you can be featured…
What inspired you to take this approach to your illustration?
I was out in Italy last year and cycled the Stelvio Pass with a group of ladies. It was such an awesome experience and such an incredibly hard challenge. I’ll never forget that day.
It sounds really corny, but I was inspired by the women I was riding with and the mountains and thought, ‘I really should follow my dreams’ and do something I love.
I decided to do the series of Italy illustrations as a gift for the ladies on the trip and just started drawing. That was where it all started.
We love your illustration of Tiffany Cromwell of Canyon//SRAM [and from what we hear, so did she]. How did you pick her?
I follow a lot of women cyclists on Instagram, including Tiff, who is an incredibly inspiring cyclist. She posted a photo and it captured my imagination, so I decided to do an illustration of her. The result is my take on that photo.
You have started doing personalised prints (see below). What is your approach with these?
I think the personality and uniqueness of the subject is really important. Everyone’s human – we all have different personalities, so when I’m illustrating people I always try to capture their essence, what makes them different and their spirit on the bike.
What does your cycling life look like?
I ride a bike a lot now, but I only got into road cycling about five years ago at the age of 47. I used to go to the gym a lot, but I got bored of doing the same thing over and over. I got my first road bike – inspired by my husband who is a racer and Ironman – and I’ve never looked back and never been back to the gym! When I’m out on my bike it’s the best therapy.
I’ve also just started cyclocross racing – it’s completely out of my comfort zone, but I was inspired by my 11 year old son, Max, who I watched race every week, then thought I’d like to give it a go! It’s really tough and a lot of fun. At the end of a race I’m mainly happy to have survived.
What are your plans for the future of Jen’s Cycling Art?
I’m delighted with how the first few months have gone and I want to keep illustrating (and cycling, obviously!). I also have a few exciting clients in the pipeline, so watch this space!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Buy a bike sooner, of course! Slightly more seriously, I’d tell myself, ‘Have more faith in yourself, more confidence.’ It’s taken me to nearly 52 to have confidence in myself.
‘And follow your dreams, you’re better than you think.’