Lewis G Burton wants us to be our purest, rawest selves
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Lewis G Burton is a living East London queer icon – if you’ve spent any time in the queer spaces of Dalston or Hackney you’re almost certain to have shared a room with the sky-high brows, clown white face and sloppy red lip that makes them “the closest thing in London to Divine” (according to literally everyone who watched Lewis trash a Christmas tree at Female Trouble’s Christmas party).
They are the driving force behind queer techno disco INFERNO - a space for fabulous and grotesque queers to dance and perform until the early hours, in an industrial estate in Hackney away from the judgemental gaze of mainstream society.
Having studied fine art, Lewis now works as a DJ and performance artist in the UK and across Europe. They recently curated the INFERNO SUMMIT, a seminar addressing issues of queerness, class, fatness and pitching yourself as a queer person to straight publications.
Last year they walked, cast and produced the Fecal Matter show in October in the space of nine days, and has recently become a member of Pxssy Palace. And it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down for Lewis, with March this year seeing the four year anniversary of INFERNO and you can imagine the party they’re going to throw.
Here we chat to Lewis about the decorative possibilities of hooved humans and a “femme centred utopia” on Mars.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up.
I was raised on a council estate situated a 20-minute drive from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where I studied fine art and moved to London. I’m still a practising performance artist as well as running my own club nights such as INFERNO and a DJ.
What’s your career highlight?
I have loads. But recently I completed the INFERNO zine to accompany the club night to give a voice and a platform to queer creatives involved with the night. Also, I curated a two-day seminar entitled SUMMIT where I brought together all corners of the queer community from across the UK. We addressed pressing issues affecting our community that we face within nightlife, performance art and other creative fields as well as delving in further into the topic’s of class, fatness and pitching yourself as a queer person to straight publications.
What are you working on at the moment?
I mean if I told you I would have to kill you. If you really want to know I’m working on an EP, DJing around Europe.
What 3 beauty products are in your bag right this second?
The Blacklight Highlight 6 Colour Palette by BH Cosmetics, it’s 6 vivid colours and cheap and cheerful £13 from Beauty Bay. Perfect for the freak on the go. Morphe gel liner is a must to get those perfect eyes, durable and sweat proof. Kyrolan TV paint sticks for my foundation. Honestly, these changed my life.
Who is your beauty icon/favourite look of all time? Why?
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think that also applies for ugliness and the grotesque. That’s what excites me and what I think is true beauty, there’s nothing more beautiful than someone being themselves in their purest, rawest form and saying a big fuck you to the traditional conventions of beauty standards. That’s why I adore people like Christeene, Fecal Matter, Divine, Günter Brus, Leigh Bowery, Pete Burns, Grace Jones etc.
It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why?
Hooves, long fingers, four breasts, all external genitals, a womb, two stomachs and horns. Why not? These are all things I want/have. Imagine embellishing your hooves? Super cute!
It's the year 2080 and the two sexes have become obsolete in favour of one single type of human. Describe your perfect evening in.
Drawing made up genitals onto the smooth surface where humans would have previously had them.
Would you rather colonise Mars or build a utopia in the centre of the earth? What would this look like?
I would love to colonise Mars, it’s cooler. I’m not one for high temperatures. It would be a femme-centred utopia run by the matriarchy because as we can see all the men are doing a really shit job in charge of running this planet. Imagine it would be like Amazonians on Mars. It would be fab!