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Meet Jeffrey Newman (a.k.a. NuISMS)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeffrey Newman (a.k.a. NuISMS).

Hi Jeffrey, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Coming to painting… in high school, I was into architecture and drafting and drawing. I would make elaborate covers for mixtapes. Even back then, I was aware and I can’t remember exactly how but of Jackson Pollack, I was a pseudo skate punk and wore white or black, Chuck Taylor, Converse throw paint on those to make them more original. I did dive into the art scene or anything I had other issues and distractions. I remember back in the early 2000s I had bought a canvas and some paints and never did anything with them, in fact, I sold them when I sold all my belongings and went traveling. Cut to 2013’ish; in an acting class frustrated with where I was in my life again, my lack of a career, and waiting tables; and a friend from the class was getting back into painting and suggested I try it out. I begrudgingly conceded because truth be told, I was afraid. Afraid to begin something new. Afraid to fail at something else. Afraid I would suck. Just afraid, filled with so much fear that the canvas and paints that I bought perched in my kitchen intimidating me for a few months before got enough courage to open the paints and begin. Since I started, I haven’t really stopped, there have been times when I am out of town and I ‘try’ to draw and doodle but I am not as diligent as I would like to be.

Painting is and continues to be a process for me like everything in my life. It’s a practice, it’s so obvious to say but the actual application is the practice. I pull the paint across the canvas and look for what speaks to me or what I see and then I go in that direction. Not every piece, some I have an idea of what or where I want to go and head in that direction but ultimately, I will see something I didn’t think of and be sidetracked and work to get back to where I might need to be for like a commission otherwise I do my best to just let the ideas and inspiration lead me and that is amazing and terrifying. I’m pretty tactical, I feel my way through and I forget what I have done. It sounds crazy and it’s maddening too for me but if I haven’t worked a style or theme in a while I feel like I have forgotten it or forgotten the process and that keeps me on my toes. And I still feel that fear I felt in my kitchen years ago, the fear of staring at a blank canvas, the fear of uncertain but gratefully speaking, I haven’t forgotten everything I have been apart of and experienced and created because I know that fear is living in the results and not in the action of doing what is in front of me the beauty of creating and the embracing the anything can happen and everything and anything is possible. The fear is like a reminder that I am alive, risk, be a part of the experience of living.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Ha, is the journey over? I feel like I have just begun the journey so the idea that the road has been smooth or not seems strange. I do my best to get away from the ‘there thinking,’ there is no place to get to. There is no there just right here and now and the more I focus on over there the less I appreciate and I am apart of my present and for me ultimately less grateful. That isn’t to say I don’t strive for things and I don’t have a direction I want to go. I’d love to have more exposure, have more shows, be represented, get more likes, get more followers blah blah blah but it’s a crazy treadmill if I buy into that and I do sometimes but it doesn’t make me feel good at all. I am grateful to be featured like this. I think the pursuit of ‘art’ is a struggle to some degree, any art. We don’t live in a society currently that encourages young people to pursue arts in any form we are a bit upside down in our priorities of striving for outside things to solve our inside issues, grabbing for money, property, and prestige…

Part of that has brought me back to oh yeah work on me, align myself, and make the small changes to help hopefully impact larger changes. I personally struggle with the business of art, ’ Self-promotion, getting eyeballs on my work, finding representation, do I need representation – maybe not if you can work the internet well and that is a challenge. Where I find my peace and serenity is in the work and in the painting; the chaos of the world can be the obstacle. So has it been smooth, what is smooth? Easy? I don’t know painting can be easy but I guess what I am saying is what is the bar to which we are speaking am I sustaining my life through art only? No, not currently but I strive for that. Create and create and create and do my best to take small actions that I find challenging in the self-promotion department and looking for galleries interested in representing and showing my work. Everything I have in my life that I value, even my life itself, has been a struggle; I am grateful for the twists and turns because I wouldn’t here right now otherwise and I hope those experiences speak through my work.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am an artist. A visual artist, a writer, an actor, a producer, a filmmaker, a creator. Through painting, I am able to find a lot of freedom; no boundaries, no one to please, no one to disappoint – just create; when I allow myself to flow it’s transcendent. My painting is most identified through NuISMS. My art has texture and depth and is an abstract interpretation of the world I see. I mean I love to have a coffee and talk with inspiring people about life and experiences I am not one for small talk, I mean what is the point; let’s talk about things that matter. Let’s find a jumping-off place and dive into our experiences and learn from one another and be inspired by each other. Is that too much to ask? I’d like to think not.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
In this post-Covid world, everything is shifting to a more personal scale. If large gatherings are going to be restricted the internet will take an even large place in our lives through maybe virtual or zoom gallery opens or small groups going to galleries to see an artist’s works. The internet has already enabled people like me to begin to build and reach people without having to go through a third party and I think that trend will continue. The beauty of art and creators are that we will continue to produce and people will want to experience the work created the biggest shifts seem to be in delivering the art to the audiences. Currently, we are seeing blockchain technology enabling and empowering creators and artists of all sorts and all mediums to have more agency in themselves due to NFTs (nonfungible tokens) and the metaverse – the virtual world. I personally am just scratching the surface of the idea of art in the digital space its, value and tangibility, basically its currency. It is part of the future whether people like it or not, the beauty of the future and blockchain in my opinion is the transparency; so creators will be able to track their work and be compensated for it as it moves through the digital space without having a third party be involved. The whole idea is mind-bending and I am just beginning to learn and create and merge my style and art into the digital space and trying to understand and absorb a virtual world that is developing in realtime – so that is exciting and my head begins to swirl. In the immediate present zoom and online galleries will do but there is nothing like standing in the presence of visual art whether it is a single piece or part of a larger collection – to witness the art in person is a slice of magic and to that end, I think galleries will just have to limit capacities or tours. As far as the trends artists are heading in as I mentioned NFTs are exploding they will shift many industries. I am excited for more opportunities for those who desire to create, for those who are underrepresented, for those young artists to find their platform, for them to show us what is in their hearts and minds.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

The photo of me was taken by Andre Vega (IG – @andrejustinvega) the other photos are taken by me

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