an artist’s perspective
Hello and welcome, Chris Lewis, of Stratosphere Group!
Would you like to share a bit about yourself?
Hello All! My name is Chris Lewis and I am 28 years old. I have a beautiful wife, Faith, and two little boys: Noah and Logan, 6 and 7 respectively. I own my own business of websites and graphic design, and when I am not tied to a computer, I can be found doing a variety of hobbies. From exploring caves, astronomy, canoeing, and rocketry, there is never a shortage of things for me to do to pass the time. One of the most interesting things I have done with my hobbies involve triggering lightning strikes with my rockets that I have made.
I am a very active member in my church, and have come from being an diehard atheist at one time, to seeing my faith in God be as solid as a rock. I run sound and video at my church during the message and am the lead worship singer during our worship sessions. All in all, music to me is a way to say something that normal communication cannot convey, and just like my writing, is a way for me to express myself second to none. When a story comes upon me, my paper is my canvas and my pen a brush, capable of painting beautiful journeys for the reader to enjoy. In writing there are no limitations to the adventure that one can create.
What is your favorite thing about reading?
I believe the best thing about reading is the endless adventures one is able to go on without ever leaving their chair. From being next to Abraham Lincoln when he gave his Gettysburg address, to stepping out of the Lunar Module with Neil Armstrong when he uttered his world changing words: That’s One Small Step.. Reading brings you into the story and gives you an experience like none other.
Do you remember your first book? Do you remember your favorite place to read as a child?
The first book I remember reading was called I Want To Be An Astronaut. It was a real simple book, but was the founding book that ignited my love for science. Another set of books I read when I was young was the Boxcar Children series, I remember having dreams of being one of the kids in those stories. Upon entering Junior High my real love for reading came after reading S.E. Hintons The Outsiders. I was so captivated by how reading a book was actually like seeing a movie, only better. I then discovered that my favorite place to read was any library. To be surrounded by adventures just waiting to have their covers turned was almost a thrill to me.
When did your love of reading inspire you to write?
I began to write my own stories as a way for me to create adventures of my own. Nearly all of the stories I have ever written have come from my dreams. I used to dream so much, and so many interesting stories, that I began keeping a pen next to my bed so I could write down all I could remember from the dream. My very first dream and first story I ever wrote was called The Trip to Space.
Another thing that I would have to say inspired my writing was a computer program my parents got me for my birthday. It was called “Story Book Weaver,” and it, I can honestly say, really ignited my love for writing. With that said, I encourage parents to skip video games for their kids and get games that inspire kids to be creative and to achieve their dreams.
Do you prefer paperback books, e-books or both? Why?
To me, a book shelf is like a work of art. Looking at all the various colored spines and titles is truly a sight to behold, and therefore, I always look for books to add to my never-ending bookshelf collection. I do however enjoy the simplicity of having e-books, as if I am waiting on a client to arrive or have some time before an appointment, I can simply pull out my iPhone or iPad and begin reading.
When reading, what types of characters do you find yourself relating to more than others?
I find myself relating a lot to characters who are not taken seriously right away, for their thoughts or beliefs, and only after someone gives them a chance to prove themselves is their usefulness discovered ever so brightly (ie. David and Goliath).
Are there books that you find yourself revisiting? (Either in yourmind or literally picking up the book to reread it again and again)
Other than my Bible, Auto Biographies is where it’s at for me! To become a part of someone’s life, who did something famous or worth remembering — moon landing, discovering America, etc., are truly incredible reads.
If you could introduce two characters from two different books youhave read, who would they be and why?
October Sky has been a book that so captivated me, I have actually spoken with the author on the phone and he sent me an autographed copy. October Sky told the story of how these kids faced odds of being taken serious as potential college students in the field of science and overcame the odds of being forced to work in the coal mines.
(Wow!! How crazy is that!?) What web design advice or tips would you give authors,artists and business owners?
Web design is a profession that has taken me over 11 years to get where I am, now, and with that said, my advice is to honestly hire a professional. Websites have come a long way from their earlier days when anyone could build them. However, with the current trends and standards set by the world’s three largest search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo, not having a properly designed and/or keyword rich site can actually hurt your ability to gain potential customers and help your competition.
The search engine providers have a delicate balance to achieve. They succeed by helping people find your business or site, but at the same time, they do not want to take people to sites that are junky, because that then gives them a bad reputation. However, if you are definitely set on designing your own site and maintaining it, here are a few tips to follow:
1) Choose a domain that is close to what you do and in some situations get more then one domain. ie You own a guitar store in Pittsburgh.. A few good domains that you could choose could be mikesguitars.com and pittsburghguitarshop.com Your domain is your first step in getting Google, Bing and Yahoo’s attention.
2) Build your site around one main keyword and use it 2 or 3 times on the home page. ie. Welcome to Pittsburgh’s number one Guitar Shop. We at Mikes Guitars… Too many keywords, google will think you are trying to cheat the system and will actually bump your site down in ranks.
3) When you use images on your site, make sure you give your images a good file name. If you take pictures change the file name ie. DSC_3201.jpg to blue-electric-guitar.jpg
4) If in doubt look around online. A good google search of web design tips is only a few clicks away. Also, youtube is a good source for visual learners.
If any of you would like to contact me regarding anything you have read here or would like a free quote on website work, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Mention this site for a 20% discount as well. Also, don’t be mislead by all the hoop and holler about the high cost of websites being thousands of dollars. There are some designers that charge that much but the range of websites I have done are $250 to $850 and I have never had anyone’s site cost more then that.
Have a blessed day and happy reading!
Chris Lewis – Web & Graphic Designer
Taking Business Higher..
Thanks so much for sharing, Chris!! It’s been wonderful learning about your creative journey!
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