10 questions with digital artist Rupert Newman

Posted in In the Studio by Ruth Reyes on 03rd June 2014

Rupert Newman's work explores the interaction between the static and the projected moving image. With projection mapping techniques and a distinct visual language, he creates unusual illusions of depth and space challenging the viewers perception. Painting in gouache and manipulating his work for digital print, we asked him a few questions about his work.

What's the most important thing to know about you?

My background is in printed textiles but I have transformed the application of my designs for projecting onto both artwork and architecture.

How did you get into VJing?

I started VJing at festivals like The Secret Garden Party for both bands and dj’s with a really small projector. Animation software enabled me to animate my designs and mix them with other video content made by other artists. This became really popular so I invested in a really bright projector tailor made my projections for each venue.

Describe your prints in three words?

Geometric, abstract, colourful.

Circular Prism
Rupert Newman

Tell us a bit about the process behind digital printing?

Digital print involves preparing an image on the screen, and printing it. It’s that simple. But the artist has to have vision - something on screen looks totally different to something on paper. The colours can be less vibrant (they’re not back lit), the image could become pixellated, and there may be unintended scale issues (a computer screen is small!). To avoid these things, experience counts. Sourcing the best quality paper and ink also plays a vital role in the final outcome. The artist may also paint over the digital print - adding another dimension. I often do this with gold and silver paint - achieving what a digital printer can’t.

Rupert Newman

What's the weirdest response you've ever had to a project?

Someone once stared, close up, at one projection piece for half an hour. I think they were hypnotised. My work has therapeutic qualities and has been known to stop babies crying.

You were responsible for the light show at the after party of the Brits at the Savoy Hotel. Tell us a bit about that project.

I teamed up with Warner Music and Chaos Visuals to produce an octagonal a screen with eight projectors backlighting them. This was hoisted up above an octagonal dance floor, and I controlled the visuals live throughout the night. It was the centre piece of the party and appeared to react to the music. I also commissioned a moonwalking disco peacock for Kylie’s entrance!

Three main influences?

The art movement Rayonism, where the artists paint light rays reflected from objects rather than the objects themselves. The two French artists Robert and Sonia Delaunay who coined the term Orphism. Their primary concern was colour. Berlin has been a big influence too.

Rupert Newman

What kind of world are you trying to depict through your art?

I aim to create a beautiful, colourful, abstract, therapeutic world, with balanced colour harmony and composition. I draw influences from both geometric art and corals under the sea. Sometimes I imagine diving deep and discovering a treasure chest full of magic and luminous colour. The darkness around helps to create that sense of depth.

What advice would you give to someone just coming out of Art school?

Try and use technology as much as you can. This will help you to prepare yourself and adapt your art for more commercial projects in the future. 

After Warhol
Rupert Newman

How has the internet affected you in terms of gaining visibility for your work?

The internet has played a vital role, allowing me to have an online portfolio that anyone can see at any time. It has transformed the way I present my work - I don’t need to carry around a big portfolio anymore! I get a lot of business from people that have seen my website. So the artist must make sure that he puts his absolute best work on his site… If in doubt, leave it out!

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