Lewis was born on his father's yacht off the Canadian coast. His father was American, and his mother British. The family moved to England in 1888 and Lewis studied at the Slade School of Art, 1898 - 1901. Painter, poet and polemicist, Lewis founded the Vorticist movement in 1914, a British hybrid of Cubism and Futurism. His work of this date verged on abstraction. The Vorticist movement waned during the war, but Lewis continued to produce provocative images throughout the 1920s. After losing his sight in 1951, Lewis concentrated on writing.