He made headlines two months ago when he married superstar soprano Katherine Jenkins and now American artist Andrew Levitas is in the spotlight
again. He talks to Suzanne Baum about his first solo London exhibition…
As the husband of one of the most famous soprano singers in the world, it is hard not to refer to him as Mr Katherine Jenkins.
He may not thank me for it but Andrew Levitas is so immensely proud of his wife I am sure he won’t mind. After all, it is exactly two months today that he wed the Welsh star, and there is no doubt on talking to him that he is smitten by her.
“Married life to Katherine is absolutely incredible,” he enthuses. “We are living a very happy life together and I am incredibly in awe of everything she does.”
However, it seems that the feeling is mutual as Katherine has proven a rock for her husband during the last few weeks that has seen Levitas produce his first London exhibition of art.
“Sharing the success of my first solo exhibition has been even more exciting with Katherine at my side,” explained 37-year-old Levitas, who was chosen by Phillips auction house as the first artist to get a solo exhibition in its new gallery in Mayfair.
“This was my first exhibition in London and to be invited to display my work in such a remarkable space was very exciting.”
The exhibition, called Metalwork Photography, showcased works of art that Levitas has made by a process he developed, in which photographs are turned into large slides and melted on to hand-etched metal sheets, creating ‘metalwork photography’.
What has inspired him to create these awe-inspiring sculptures and installations?
“Art has always been a big part of my life and I get inspiration from all different things,” he explains.
“I get my ideas not necessarily from other artists but more from books, the theatre, things I come across on a daily basis. Anything really that captures my interest can be reproduced in my art.”
Although he is very private when it comes to talking about Katherine, he admits she “inspires my art.
“The two of us are engrossed with music and the arts which are a huge part of our lives.”
Throughout the exhibition’s three-week run, Levitas would find himself drawn to other London art galleries and exhibitions and then return to his own.
“It was such a thrill to soak up so much art in London and then to pop into my exhibition and see all my work under one incredible space. Curating an exhibition of my work was a work of art in itself.”
With homes in New York and Los Angeles, as well as one just outside London, Levitas spends huge amounts of time travelling. “My art is absolutely everywhere. You can’t walk a step in any of the houses without bumping into something I’ve created.”
As for Katherine, I ask Levitas if she is constantly singing when at home. “Yes, Katherine sings all the time, the house is always full of music. It depends on who you ask but when I try to sing, Katherine tells me I can’t!”
Although he is constantly on the move, Levitas points to New York City as his favourite place, having been brought up there.
“I have a real bond with the city,” said Levitas. “My childhood growing up there was simply wonderful. My parents loved the arts and would take me all over New York to see theatre, music concerts and the arts. We travelled a lot and being exposed to different countries and cultures was extremely memorable.”
Celebrating the Jewish festivals was a strong part of Levitas’ upbringing and he recalls them fondly of being “a chance to bring the family together.
“We were never religious as such but the family was very spiritual and celebrating the customs and traditions of the religion is what brought us together. It helped that wine was an important element!
“Katherine knows all about my religion and understands the Jewish customs but ultimately for both of us family is the most important thing and celebrating any religious holiday together is important to us.”
With a hugely successful show behind him, Levitas has no plans to slow down. In fact, as well as teaching (he teaches art at New York University) and continuing his art he also is busy writing new movies (in 2012, he directed his first feature film, Lullaby, starring Jennifer Hudson and Amy Adams.)
“Right now, life is great and I’m thrilled that my exhibition was so successful,” he adds. “It’s been an incredible two months having got married and had a debut exhibition. The fact that Katherine’s family has embraced me is wonderful-we really are like one big happy family.”