If you stop this season to admire a holiday window painting at a business in downtown Johnson City, odds are it was painted by local artist Debra Lewis.
Since moving to the area from her native New Hampshire more than a decade ago, Lewis has used her degree in graphic arts to start her own marketing company that specializes in her creative art.
She calls herself “an artist for hire.”
Lewis and her 14-year-old son live in Jonesborough.
How do you describe what you do to family and friends?
I usually say I am in marketing because most of my artwork is geared toward marketing for area businesses. That could include hand-painted signage, a mural, window painting and logo design. I use my artistic talent to come up with creative marketing ideas.
What led you to become an artist?
I’ve been in sales and marketing for most of my adult life, and a few years ago I owned a cake shop in downtown Johnson City. I realized that I loved the startup and marketing part of business, and always craved more creativity.
One of the benefits of getting older is the freedom and realization that you need to do more of what makes you happy, and for me that is art.
What do you enjoy most about window painting?
I have so much fun with it, and to me it’s not Christmas until I paint my first window. When I was little, there was an old-time general store in town and every Christmas they would have their windows painted with a holiday scene and I was fascinated.
It stuck with me and many years later I started doing Christmas windows for the Shamrock Beverage and Tobacco in Johnson City, but now I do it year-round for grand openings, sales and other events.
What inspires your art?
I have a serious business side to art and then a “me” side. The business side is inspired by necessity and marketing budget constraints of a business. I can come up with some pretty awesome ideas on a super low budget.
The “me” side of art is a little out there and I find inspiration everywhere. I just finished a large, colorful paper mache lizard eating a dish of bugs that I have no idea what to do with, but it looks really cool.
Where can people see your artwork?
Right now I have Christmas window paintings throughout the Tri-Cities. You can see more examples of that and other artwork on my website at creativemarketing423.com.