Rowan Newton is a painter from South London. Growing up in metropolitan Brixton, surrounded by graffiti, Rowan was drawn to bold and vibrant imagery from an early age. His childhood appreciation for the street artist’s ability to transform unlikely spaces into pieces of art, echoes in his work today.
Rowan’s style reflects the dichotomies of the inner-city landscape. Using spray and oil paint, he creates pieces that are gritty, provocative, and full of character, with his tenacious use of bright colours. Rowan paints that which he finds beautiful, and so he often captures the confidence of women with equally confident brush strokes, but does not lose the delicateness of their femininity. His work is full of texture with splatter, drips, and layering complimenting the depth of his artistic subjects. Rowan’s process is a re-imagining of beauty and a representation of it in a whole new way. Find out more in the interview below and visit his website www.rowannewton.co.uk.
Whom do you look up to?
I’m not sure I look up to anyone really, and if I do it probably more people in the music world, such as Jay-Z. Growing up in Brixton south London, I feel I was raised on Jay-Z’s music and watched and observed how he made his moves to achieve his success. In the sense of endlessly pursueing your dream even if at first it is slow and hard work, communicating your narrative that you want to tell, and not waiting for others, whether that be galleries or agents, to expose your work but instead using the resources that are availble to you to get your work out there. Also in the sense of getting out there and meeting people and hustling together what ever money you can to then invest in your passion. So in regards to me that passion is art.
On a more artistically inspiring tip, I would say Will Barras, David Hockney and Jenny Saville.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking? There is an important team of people around me, consisting of all types of characters. No one person can achieve success in there field alone. It is a contribution of all the right people around you, allowing and pushing you to be the best at who you are. So there are too many to mention, but they know who they are.
In regards to my way of thinking, again it’s never just one person, but everyone you choose to communicate and interact with. Aside from that I’d say love has the biggest influence of how I think. It is important to me that us as humans try and do our best to look out for and listen to one another.
How did your art career start?
What made you want to become an artist? It was fairly organic to be honest. I was drawing obsessivley for as long as I could remember. I did a degree in Illustration, but once leaving Uni I moved into a large flat which had these huge bare walls. I couldn’t afford to buy any decent art to fill these walls with. So I went out and bought a load of canvas’ and cheap paint and painted my own works to hang on the walls. A lot of people came through my flat in those days, I threw big house parties etc. So before long, word got out and they were in front of the right person, who was an art agent and he took me on.
What was your favourite project and why?
I don’t really see anything as a project, they are narratives that I am trying to communicate through my work. In my head I have about the next 3 or 4 paintings planned out. So the painting that I am actaully painting is the most exciting, because I’m finally getting that idea out of my head and onto canvas.
How do you define creativity?
I don’t, I think that would be a dangerous thing to do. To me creativity is the ultimate freedom to create what you wish. When you try to define what that is, then we begin to loose that freedom.
What’s your personal motto?
Not really a quote or motto, but I strongly believe anything is possible and is all achieveable. If you are willing to work hard at your passion and invest your time and what money you have into it, you can achieve what ever you want, and take it to the point of no limits. But it will come at a cost of a lot of sacrificies and you have to decide whether or not it is worth those sacrifices. Most will decide not, and may not even be aware that they have made that decision, its only the few that are prepared to make those sacrificies that can take it all the way.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell them?
Be prepared to make a lot of sacrifcies
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
I think the biggest challenge for any artist is to keep pushing forward and constantly evolving and progressing creatively with your work.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
To work harder and more consistently and to utilise the internet more, which at the time was just coming into prominence.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion of art?
All images © Rowan Newton