Lee Harvey Roswell

Artist Q&A with Lee Harvey Roswell

“Lil’ Piggy Goes to Market”, oil on wood, 14 x 11 in | 36 x 28 cm, 2020

Why did you become an artist?

Becoming an artist seems fated to me. I’d established an early propensity towards creative activities, most specifically drawing. By the time I was a young adult making a conscious decision to be an artist I had already developed my art into a habit. So, there was never a question of why am I doing this in this formative years. Since then I suppose I’ve asked myself the question, and given myself answers, but the answers never fully cover the matter. As therapy, as a skill set I can make a living off, and as a way of contributing to a better world are all fine reasons, but beyond all that, I feel that I create art because I was meant to create art.

How is your work different than everything out there?

Well, it’s certainly not an all-consuming matter being different. If an artist finds “their voice” they will inevitably be different from others. Sure, there’s a lot of living working artists in the world today, more than ever, but creative expression is so diverse really. I can say I have been working in my craft for a good many years and people have come to recognize each work as a Lee Harvey Roswell, speaking in terms of “the new Lee Harvey Roswell,” or “it was like something out of a Lee Harvey Roswell”. So, in that I am the only artist out there making authentic Lee Harvey Roswells.  

Lee Harvey Roswell, self portrait

What’s different about your current body of work?

The most obvious difference in my new work is thematic. I’d already been pushing a dark take on life, and now with the pandemic, unemployment, failing economy, civil rights injustices, fraud, militias, growing fascism, fires, earthquakes, and devastation on multiple levels, of course all of that has had it’s effect on my creative process. So, in some cases, it’s gone darker. But it’s also brought me around to feeling a need to create hopeful imagery as well. People need hope right now. 

What’s coming up for you?

I have two SF shows coming up in December, group shows at Modern Eden and 111 Minna. Then mid-2021 I have another group show at Palette Gallery in SF. But like a lot of artists right now, there’s a lot of new work going straight online, ready for buyers to acquire from the artists directly.

Who are some of your favorite emerging artists?

There are so many artists in the world now, an artist may be well-known in one or many circles, and a complete unknown in others. A few off the top of my head, Mike Davis, who I showed with at the beginning of the year at 111 Minna. His work is always fantastic. Lizz Lopez is an incredible illustrator. Like a lot of us artists, I was completely impressed and touched by her closing up her studio during the early months of the pandemic to head to NY, working long shifts in a hospital. David Gough keeps a steady flow of work coming online. Another fantastic painter. Sri Whipple is both prolific and endlessly interesting in where he goes. Anyway, there’s four names for curious readers to check out if you’re not familiar with their work. 

“Prosperity (is a Refugee)”, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 in | 30 x 23 cm, 2020

To learn more about Lee and his work, please visit www.leeharveyroswell.com.