As it has been with every artist talk in New York, I found myself really inspired after speaking with Rashaad Newsome. Newsome’s work consisted of clipping images out of Sotheby’s catalogs and hip hop magazines and arranging them to mean something totally different. Looking at them first glance, I wasn’t particularly impressed by them. I mean, anyone could take pictures out of magazines and form collages out of them. Yet after truly studying them, I realized how difficult it is to see items which we as Americans associate with high-class, wealthy, maybe even snobby individuals in a different light. The way he arranged the images to form the collage was what moved me. Newsome incorporated such depth in each one of his pieces. After viewing the work for about ten minutes, I couldn’t see the individual objects anymore, but I saw each collage as a whole, where everything blended well. I was also even more impressed by the frames that surrounded the collages themselves. They were nearly immaculate; I was so intrigued! I immediately thought of what I could potentially do for my next project in my wood class. It was great to see such a close relation to what I’m making this semester.
While talking with Newsome, I realized that he was making some pretty inspiring points when it came to being “chosen” by a gallery, and art making in general. He told us to stand by our work and be confident whenever possible. Have a strong commitment to your work, and always make what you want to create for work. Most importantly, stop trying to make others happy. Galleries will appreciate you for who you are and the work you make. If you try to mask that, they’ll easily be able to see that you’re making the art specifically to cater to them.
Another topic Newsome talked about was the way he went about creating his work. He spoke of referencing the past, but pushing it forward to formulate new ideas. His work is filled with ideas of desire, wealth, and status. Newsome also has the ability to reference a painting without paint, and figures without figures or paintings. He also suggests making work that leaves room for abstraction. Much like David Humphrey, Rashaad tells us to have enough of an idea to hit the ground running, and then experiment from there. Because knowing the exact end result just makes the process boring. You have to be willing to expand and build your own path along the way through trial and error. By leaving areas open and decreasing the idea of limiting spaces in your pieces, you may find yourself much happier and fulfilled throughout the process.