Exhibition: ‘Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei’ by Tom Lewis

You know that feeling when you discover something really cool and you feel like you’re the first person to discover it? Then, having discovered this cool thing that has taken over your very being all you want to do is shout about it from the rooftops? That’s how I’m feeling right now, so listen up!

Last night I was reading my daily email from the Londonist and an exhibition they had reviewed caught my eye. It was the picture that first caught my attention – a creamy background with a pink haired woman in a kimono, she had butterfly wings, and hanging from the tree behind her were two paper lanterns like the ones you see outside restaurants in Japan. Japan. This exhibition had something to do with Japan, therefore I simply had to go.

As work finished tonight at 5pm I started to think that maybe I should just go home rather than go dashing off to some gallery in Hoxton which closed in an hour. It was grey and rainy – not exactly an inviting evening for a wander through Shoreditch. But I felt drawn, so off I went to the Hoxton Gallery at the Arch to have a look.

A huge grin spread across my face as soon as I found the gallery and looked in the window. Pink lettering on the window announced the name of the exhibition: Megan and the Beasts of Kaimei, and one of the so-called ‘beasts’ was looking back at me.

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Welcome to the world of Tom Lewis – a world made up of such breathtakingly gorgeous images that I felt quite lost for words as I stared at them, losing myself in their beauty and mystery. This was, without a doubt, my kind of art.

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The Legend of the Shisui Pagoda

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The Legend of the Koukuu Moon

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The barefoot Legend of the grand Katsura

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The barefoot Legend of the quickening kumo (Left) and The barefoot Legend of Keisei Song (Right)

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The barefoot Legend of Keisei Song

On some of the pieces you can see ghost-like pencil figures in the background, giving them an extra hint of mystery and spookiness.

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The barefoot Legend of Keisei Song (detail)

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

The barefoot Legend of Matataki Trap

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Megan and the tree of Ian (Left) and Megan and the double Kichi (Right)

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Megan and the Hakanei hills (Top left), Megan and the Shado Lantern (Top right), Megan and the Melancholy Heikou (Bottom left) and Megan and the Melody Stone (Bottom right)

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Megan and the Kyoko Chorus

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Megan vs. the Tripple Ripple

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Megan and the Battle of Sonbou

These paintings are bursting with colour, detail and imagination. They’re not simply pictures – they’re stories and legends. I feel like there ought to be a book or at the very least a computer game to accompany this exhibition, and if there isn’t a book I would very much like to write one!

Dotted around the gallery are a large number of little pink beasties called ‘The Mysterious Burobbu‘ (say it with Japanese pronunciation… there you go… ‘The Mysterious Blob’!). There’s a ‘puddle’ of them in the middle of the gallery:

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

And others are dotted around, hiding in nooks and crannies.

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

I’d love a few of these dotted around my flat! I wonder how much they are… might need to pop back and inquire…

Tom Lewis is a Birmingham-born artist and illustrator living in London. He was actually in the gallery this evening but I was so stunned by his work that I forgot to ask him any relevant questions. Now I’m itching to ask all about the inspiration for this work, who Megan is, what the beasts are, if ‘kaimei’ simply means ‘darkness’ or if there’s more to it than that, and whether there is a book or something to tell me more about Megan and this magical world. Tom, if you read this, I’d love to know more! Contact me if you’d be up for an interview!

'Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei' by Tom Lewis

Tom lewis

The wonderful, enchanting Megan and The Beasts of Kaimei by Tom Lewis is on at the Hoxton Gallery at the Arch, 9 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA until 14th October. The gallery is open 9am – 6pm. For more information about Tom Lewis, visit: www.tomlewis.co.uk.

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