Mike Newman answers FAD’s Questions

Is that it? © Mike Newman


1. If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be? 

Chef?  I have probably watched too much master chef – could I actually make a soufflé – probably not but I like the idea of a working in vibrant bustling restaurant. I guess it is so far away from what I do as art is often a solitary act.


2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?

I have been working with objects both from memory and observation where outcomes play with both material and mediation.  I describe my practice as drawing based to affirm an attitude.  I like to play with the understanding that drawing is associated with immediacy, narrative memory and intimacy.  By accepting these qualities I am able to then play with a sense of time through use of material and mediation.

A recent work titled ‘Shade’ is a relief made from card placed behind dual layers of perspex with draft paper.  The result is an image that could be described as being like a carefully rendered pencil drawing or even a crafted airbrush work.  The reality of this illusion is that beneath the layers is a physical deceit.


3. How do you start the process of making work? 

I make sketches on the pc.  I find using the free simple paint software allows me to work quickly and evenly.  I currently send the sketches out to a limited audience through social media.  Some of the ideas I develop in the studio where I consider, scale and material.  Studio work invariably takes a new direction to the sketch as the process takes me somewhere new.


4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?

I always have an audience in mind even if it is there for me to confuse.  I play with primal visual language, again this gets back to drawing and the simple rules we apply and somehow know.  I guess I rely on rules being understood by the viewer.  I am interested in the work having layers of meaning and I hope that it can be read on many different levels.


Roll © Mike Newman


5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work?

Francis Alys, Julie Mehretu and Matt Mullican.


6. Name 3 of your least favourite artists.

Not something I think about…


7. What defines something as a work of art?

Art is defined by the artist so it can be anything.


8. In times of austerity, do you think art has a moral obligation to respond topically?

I don’t think so. Artists are obligated to make art.

 Slide © Mike Newman


9. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?

A Matt Mullican performance.


10. What is your favourite ‘ism’?



11. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?

Joseph Ismail described my work as ‘back and forth’ I see it as a stutter but enjoy his description


12. And the dumbest?

As a response to my drawing I get asked why I don’t paint?


13. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?

On kawarra.

 Wok / Play © Mike Nelson

14. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!

I have been preoccupied with the idea of waste when producing a work as although outcomes are often simple the process to get there is costly.  It is an issue when money is scarce, and it is.


15. If Moma and the Tate and the Pompidou wanted to acquire one of your works each, which would you want them to have?

I have several works I would like to show more but I would go with ‘shade’ as this is where I am at presently.  I would reproduce the drawing for each place.


Shade © Mike Newman

16. What’s next for you?

I will continue to collect my thoughts with digital drawing using to social media.  I am planning to curate a space that is drawing centric inviting others that have caught my eye.


For more details check Mike Newman’s website: http://www.mike-newman.co.uk/ or http://redactedreductives.tumblr.com/

About Ben Austin

Ben Austin studied History of Art at Reading University. He started Catto Contemporary in Shoreditch where he was responsible for helping to launch the careers of several artists and showed Anthony Micallef and Banksy in a curated exhibition entitled ‘Perverse Pop’ back in 2001. Austin has worked at Art Review, before setting himself up as an independent curator and through Austin Enterprises he staged the legendary Frieze opening night show/party entitled ‘Decadence, Decay and the Demimonde’ at Home House in 2007, which featured art on loan from the Saatchi Gallery (Marcus Harvey, Liz Neal and Barry Reigate). He has also curated exhibition at the Blouin Foundation – ‘After Dark’ series, featuring acclaimed artists such as Alice Anderson. He has been on the judging panel for the ‘Young Masters’ prize. More recently he curated ‘Art Britannia’ during Miami Basel featuring a collection of contemporary British artists and acted as the initial curator and advisor the The Dot Project Gallery in Fulham. Ben Austin acts as an art advisor and dealer. He writes for numerous publications including Artlyst and FAD.

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