Lewis G Burton is a young London-based performance artist. His work deals largely with the themes of the grotesque, androgyny and struggle with the self.
Performing on the contrasting fine art scenes and London’s underground club circuit, Lewis has exhibited in an impressive array of venues including The Institute of Contemporary Art, The Bargehouse at Oxo Tower, The Peckham Space and The Mori and Stein Gallery. Other venues have included Bethnal Green’s Working Men’s Club (Sink the Pink), XOYO (Charity Monster), Resistance Gallery (Hard Camp by CUNTemporary) and East Bloc (Larry Tee’s Super Electric Party Machine).
Lewis is currently the resident performer and host at The Yeast London Cabaret, a weekly alternative underground cabaret used as a platform for young queer performance artists, drag acts, musicians and contemporary dancers.
Vada: What has your involvement been with the gay scene?
My involvement with the underground gay scene is as a host and performance artist. Coming mainly from a fine art background I’m asked to perform at different club nights around London and in particular East London. Because of my involvement with fine art, I am completely different to the conventional drag acts and cross-dressers that plague the club scene. In addition I am also asked to host at nights where there may be not be the availability for me to perform. However, being the eccentric socialite I am known for on the scene, I have made many contacts and promote, endorse and host for people and events.
Feminism seems to have quite a large influence on your work, would this be a correct assumption?
I wouldn’t necessarily say feminism, but I am influenced a lot by queer theory, psychology and gender studies. I identify as something neither male nor female, but still have elements of the two. The majority of my performances are about blurring the lines between the traditional roles of male and female and also as a critique of the drag scene, which has for the most part been unable to progress.
What events have you taken part in already and are there any more upcoming events for you? Have there been any particular moments during these events that you have been particularly proud of?
I’m currently hosting and performing in The Yeast London Cabaret troupe that runs every Thursday. This is an alternative underground cabaret night used as a platform for young queer performance artists, drag acts, musicians and contemporary dancers at the renowned venue East Bloc. I currently have numerous performance gigs around the club scene over the next few months both as a solo performer and with the Yeast London cabaret.
During the summer of 2013, I performed at The Platform Six London exhibition, which was sponsored by Adidas to help raise money for the LGBTQ charity Stonewall. Being asked to take part was an incredible experience and very humbling to partake in raising money for such an established charity. I was asked to take part in an exhibition with Carl Hopgood, Judy Blame and James Tailor, not to mention names such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Boy George who also got involved with raising money for Stonewall.
Is there anything you would want to change on the scene, and what lies in store for you in the future?
I think over the past few years I’ve realised the scene will always be the scene, I’ve come to understand that it’s about preserving it. Being involved with events such as the Yeast London Cabaret allows me to give a platform to many young creatives in London who normally would have to ‘work the scene’ in order to get their first gig. I personally believe it’s about encouraging a new generation of people who want to be creative and outrageous, exploring gender roles and blurring the lines between men and women.
In the future I hope to be earning a living off my work. One of my fears is facing the mundane routine of everyday life without living and breathing art into what I do. Being able to inspire the new generation who are vital to preserving the scene is one of my biggest passions for the future.
Currently I have chosen to focus on doing a one-man show alongside the cabaret this summer, which focuses on the LQBTQ community. It will involve a mix of poetry, philosophy, performance and a sprinkling of anarchy. Over the next few years I would also like to continue my work developing and exploring the boundaries of fine art within a gallery environment rather than the scene.
You can check Lewis out @LewisGBurton.