“I love the playful interaction my work has with people, tricking them with illusion, and taking them on an immersive journey. I want my work to have a positive effect on my audience, leaving them awe-inspired and uplifted.”
Rupert Newman is one of the most innovative artists in the world. Better still, Rupert Newman is the most avant-garde artist that you have never heard of. Although his name may not be as recognisable as his imperious collection of art rewards, Rupert’s unique projection mapping technique has taken him on a global expedition; showcasing the intricacies of light and colour to a whole new audience.
One of the leading lights in the field of visual mapping, transforming spaces into immersive visual spectacles, Rupert continues to push the boundaries of modern art. Having showcased at the annual Warner Brothers Brit Awards After Party, Battersea Power Station and Freemasons Hall, to earmark a few of his eclectic exhibitions, Rupert’s work will have likely captured your imagination once before, you just didn’t know it was him. Or if it hasn’t, it is only a matter of time before it does.
“Digital, geometric, original, futuristic, experimental, immersive,” recites Rupert when challenged to describe his trademark technique of light artistry. In essence, Rupert, as a visual mapping artist, specially designs light effects and projects them in accordance with static images, most commonly on to objects and buildings. His work seeks to continually challenge the parameters of print and light projections through placing the notion of art as an immersive experience at its heart. Although the success of his work is clear to see, the question arises of how does one develop such a unique technique and relay it on a grand scale; to great success.
“It all evolved completely naturally,” Rupert nonchalantly explains. “I studied printed textile design at The Royal College of Art and there I was encouraged to innovate and try new things. So I began to animate my print designs, project and map them on to wall-hangings. After my studies I was asked to display one of my illuminations in a nightclub, then a wedding and it’s just snowballed from there.”
After graduating from The Royal College of Art in 2010, Rupert began to focus on his printed designs with a series of screen printed wall hangings, which he brought to life by projecting light effects onto them. Though, Rupert, who cites 20th century artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Delaunay as inspirations, soon realised that his projection technique could be manipulated within the coordinates of any object, art or architecture; completely transforming their appearance in the process.
Today, he continues to experiment with the abstraction of space, colour and light to form new compositions in his shows and exhibits. Most vibrantly displayed through the aircraft he was commissioned to decorate in 2014. “It was for a wedding party inside a Boeing 747,” Rupert explains. “So I created content to give the impression of it taking off and flying through the air at high speeds.” Diversely, Rupert’s projections as part of The Warner Music Brits After Party, display his ability to be able to work to different parameters and to a range of occasions. “The After Party was a completely different feel. I created content for a giant projection chandelier, hung above the dance floor in The Savoy Hotel. The visuals were choreographed with Kylie and Nile Rogers too, and the waitresses’ dresses were designed using a print taken from a still of the projections.” Yet when asked for his favourite visual project to date, another exhibit holds Rupert’s affection.
“I loved illuminating a gold organ in Cambridge's Guildhall - it looked like music was coming out of it as it towered over the DJ and the speakers – that was special. Alongside Guildhall, The London Business School also made for a fantastic canvas. The building being all-white and possessing a number of pillars, gave me a range of opportunities and shapes that I could map onto to enhance its 3D facade.”
Alongside the illuminations of light, Rupert produces prints, paintings and fabric designs that are sold to buyers and collectors worldwide. Naturally in half drop repeat, meaning they have no rigid border, the paintings lend themselves to Rupert’s penchant for creative colour and they often form the focus of his larger mapped designs. “The organic origin of my patterns mean that it is textured so when projected it maintains the integrity of an original piece of artwork,” explains Rupert. “In my opinion projection content that begins on the computer often appears synthetic and flat, it lacks character, voice and originality. I want my projections to be expressions, just as the drawings and paintings are in my sketchbook.”
That very sketchbook is awash with ideas that look set to expand Rupert’s influence in the world of visually mapped art. As he denotes that his current success came through ‘embracing opportunity’, talk naturally turns to the future and the upcoming experiments he is instinctively excited to share. “Mapping stages for concerts and music festivals is a particularly exciting avenue and one that I am becoming more involved with,” he says. “I am taking over a large stage at Gottwood Festival this year and will be creating a wall of geometric 3D Mapping - which is going to be great as it's always an exciting and overwhelming moment to see my creations come to life.”