I’m a visual artist from East Tennessee living in New Orleans cultivating a unique process by working with acrylic & latex paints, pastels, colored pencils, and other traditional media on large wood panels. Shaped by Appalachian culture, underlying themes of opioid & alcohol abuse, religion & legalism, faith, fear, and death all find their way into the work.
Artist + Adam Newman
Describe your art in three words.
I only need two: dramatically dreamy.
What do you love the most about creating art in your community? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I have been a part of the service industry for years, and serving folks from out of town I'd sometimes be asked, "What's your favorite thing about New Orleans?" While they were likely looking for recommendations, I'd simply say, "New Orleans is a place where you can be who you are."
This is a big deal coming from rural East Tennessee. People want to fit you into all kind of molds. Here, there's always someone with a different perspective, and it's okay to share, and there's always someone around to listen. This is what I love about making art in New Orleans.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I place a huge emphasis on honesty. In thought, meditation, or dreams I find images, and it is my goal to translate those images as purely as possible to preserve their integrity and origin. I find the images, no matter how strange at times, always seem to have purpose. They teach me about myself- past & present. I feel viewers can sense this honesty and it allows for easier connection or conversation with me & the work.
Where do you draw inspiration?
So while different artists influence you, I reason that to be because something in their work is unlocking a door to a place in your mind that was already there, but you just needed a little help finding it. I feel inspiration comes from all of our experiences. Everything you have seen, touched, or heard as well as all of our relationships. Collectively, all of these things when given the space to grow in your practice will shape the work, and in doing so, will give your work an unmistakable trademark that can't be duplicated.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Francis Bacon - I love Francis Bacon. His ability to see past our facade to the truth of humanity: our truest intentions, desires, habits, and functions & then so uniquely display them is breathtaking. I'll never forget the first time I saw images of Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.
Mark Rothko - I can spend great deals of time considering the perceived ease at which Mark Rothko could squeeze drama out of a few colors and loose geometric shapes to create a mirror in which to dissect your own condition. His disdain for money and high society; if you've never heard the story of the Seagram's murals you are doing yourself a dishonor in regards to art history.
Hilma af Klint - If you are familiar with her practice you can likely easily connect the dots here. Her willingness to trust what she would say was "delivered" to her, and share it with the world no matter how odd it may seem to others. She showed a great deal of trust in her practice this way.
Edward Hopper - Hopper could paint a novel. Like my admiration for Rothko, Hopper creates drama and allows me to imagine the story. We've all seen Nighthawks.
Art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Any song that's repeatable. When making a painting I'm usually listening to the same song on repeat for hours. Sometimes a song can take you somewhere. That somewhere can be a place, thought, memory, or feeling and you don't have to change the song till you're ready to leave. And this is how I want my paintings to feel. I have often sat with older paintings and stared at them while listening to the song I repeated while creating them. I'd be remiss if I did not mention that if my mind in thought had a sound it would be Hey Moon by John Maus.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
At home. I currently work from home and I have a brand new baby girl to take care of. I like making a home, and doing the cooking and cleaning.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
There's a lot I could talk about here, but I'll keep it simple and specific to New Orleans. I love a gray day at the lake. When I moved here in 2020 I was amazed and anxious by how you could see everything from the flatness. I was so used to seeing where my immediate world ended in being surrounded by hills and mountains. On Thanksgiving 2020, I was alone with my family being in Tennessee, and having not made many friends during lockdown, so I went to the lake. There was such a heavy fog that day. You could only see a hundred yards or so out on the water, and everything was gray, white, or misted. It was the most otherworldly I'd ever perceived a place to be. I now drive to the lake with a coffee if the morning is right. Looking out to the vanish point I see all that space and it reminds me of my favorite thing. Possibility.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
Horror movies are best viewed outside, at night.
Works listed online may be available to be viewed at the Where y’Art Works Gallery by appointment.
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