Meet the Maker - Mark Newman
Posted on 16 Mar 07:30
This we we interview Mark Newman for the Meet the Maker' blog post. Mark's series of three 'Matrix' rings feature unique specially cut stones and complex sculptural designs crafted from yellow and white gold.
When did you start creating jewellery?
"I started making Jewellery in 2011 when I enrolled in Craft Design at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. This ignited my obsession with learning. I then joined DCCI’s Centre of Excellence in Goldsmithing & Jewellery Design. Having not yet quenched my thirst for knowledge I relocated to Birmingham where I studied Design for Industry and Birmingham School of Jewellery. Currently I am pursuing a part time post Grad in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship while lecturing at NCAD."
Who inspires you the most?
"My Partner Doug. A fellow artist and illustrator. I met him at a time where I was lost and had no idea how to find my voice as an artist. Just being in his presence taught me so much about what it meant to be an artist and what it took to develop an individual voice. The gift of a pad of graph paper set me of on my journey. Whenever I get stuck or loose motivation, seeing him toil away at his own practice inspires me to sit back down at my bench and forge though."
What was the inspiration for the rings in the exhibition?
"This trio is a continuation of my original “hierarchy” ring. Originally a reimagining of the signet ring. A classic symbol of the upper echelon within society, I introduced modern motifs derived from computer circuitry in the hopes of sparking conversation around modern society, socioeconomics and class disparity. With awareness of the irony of creating works which are exclusive due to their price, this irony allows me to place these pieces within the arena where they might make the biggest impact. The Matrix trio on display at Diana Porter was designed during the pandemic during which we all lived online. At this time cyberspace was hostile and misinformation spread like wildfire. The introduction of pixelated gemstones is used as a metaphor for the corruption of information, a glitch in the matrix."
Please can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
"My creative process is a little different then others. I am affected by a relatively newly discovered neurological phenomenon called Aphantasia. Aphantasia leave you with the inability to conjure images within one mind. The minds eye is bind and your unable to recall memories, loved ones faces and ironically design ideas. Before I realised how mind my mind worked (or didn’t) I really struggled with design, making very surface level and literal pieces. Then I discovered that my mind worked differently I was able to discover my own creativity. Ive developed a none visual process where I devise “practical algorithms” informed by utilitarian systems be it roadways, circuit boards or brutalist architecture. I assign source inspiration code numerical codes which I put though an ‘algorithm’ or rule that follow stablished aesthetic notions. The result of which is unknown to me and I am always fascinated by the results."
What’s next for your creative practice?
"I plan to dive into the work of lapidary and gemstone cutting. I’m forever coming up with pieces that require odd shapes. It also breaks my heart that so much material is lost during faceting. Would love to turn the tradition on its head and preserve as much of these natural wonders as possible."
What is your favourite piece that you’ve ever made?
"The rings currently showing with Diana Porter. I worked on them over the pandemic and put everything into them. I’ve had the idea for years and they kept me sane during the insanity."
Finally, for fun, what would be your dream piece to make or person to make for?
"A chess set! I’ve always wanted to get the project moving but the sheer scale of it leave me putting it off. It’ll take years with everything else I have going on and end up wildly expensive. It would have to be a project for myself so I better learn how to play first."