May 16, 2014
Matéria publicada no blog de cultura The White List, de Londres...
Today we bring to you one of our exclusive interview series with Newton Scheufler. Exciting times, indeed and we are so thankful Newton allowed us permission to showcase his beautiful work. Take a look at the paintings and our interview below.
The White List: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today – we know you must be very busy at the moment? Can you tell us more about what you do?
Newton Scheufler: First of all, I’m a designer who became painter, writer, graphic artist, professor of aesthetics and art history, video maker, illustrator, biologist, anthropologist. Sometimes I think I have a sort of renaissance spirit that moves easily from art to scientific knowledge through the humanism. Every work I do carry a synthesis of all these elements. Currently, I’m working on several fronts. Among the most relevant, I’m writing and illustrating a book about art and philosophy for children; I participate in a project called 12 Studios, which rescues and ensures the artistic memory of the main precursors artists of the capital of Brazil’ art. The memory value of this project is huge.
The White List: With regards to your art, where does your inspiration come from?
Newton Scheufler: The life of an artist is his own inspiration, not in the sense of a bright idea that arises suddenly, but because for a true artist the reasons are everywhere: through a window that opens in the studio in the morning, in a dream, at an idea that appears in the car, at the study of the great masters, at the silhouette of the beloved woman, at the cats’ motion, at the spots of a wall on a street somewhere.
Anish Kapoor said the artist stumbles into some artistic ideas; stumbles because he was looking for them. Ideas circulate around the world, but we must to be alert to perceive them. The artist is this guy who is always alert, always looking and looking for something: a particular color in the late afternoon, the texture of the sand on the beach, the blood of a murder, the noble gesture, the hysterical laughter, the sweet and beautiful calligraphic hand that traces movements. Everything is a creative field. It is known the story of Leonardo da Vinci that, during the execution of the religious mystic Savonarola, while the city plunged into chaos, painted the hallucinated mindedly drew expressions of the populace. But, of course, each artist cuts the elements of the world and builds them in his own repertoire, which changes over time and with experience he brings. I’ve done one series of female nudes. Currently, I have done many cats. My attention is always in many places. I read several books at the same time, at least ten books simultaneously. Recently, I did a series of paintings based on my reading of The Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse, that I hadn’t have read yet. Anyway, the world with its blessings and curses is inspiring, but it is important to note that the greatest source of inspiration is everyday and profound work. If you immerse yourself in the daily pursuit of true art itself, the style itself, you end up finding something. Inspiration, in many ways, is an intense work of your memory, your references and your feelings, which, since they are the creative source of all the rest, need to be feed.
The White List: Your work seems to portray a very engaging story, your canvas’s have a great deal of depth and they seem to tell a deeper understanding each time we look at them – was this what you wanted to achieve?
Newton Scheufler: I think of Roland Barthes, for whom painting appeared as various events: as pragma (a fact), tyché (a fluke), telos (an end), apodeston (a surprise) and drama (an action). The work, as a process, indicates a backward glance at matter-concept-style, and the other for close propaedeutic. The gesture, which falls blessings and scribbles on paper and linen, reveals the drama within that process. Therefore, I work with perceptual layers. Some elements only appear to the beholder after a while. It is common to find collectors who say they have seen a detail after long after owning my piece. Besides perceptual layers, I work with formal layers, structural elements that can be modified according to my mood. I truly chase this effect in painting, but this is nothing new. Renaissance masters already did it. If you observe the works of Leonardo, of Raphael or of any of the great masters and study the details, you realize that there’s much more than the first perception can identify. I think the impact this have had in Baroque, in which some pictorial elements are not even meant to be seen, but they are there. The baroque churches have niches that are often known only to the initiated or the janitors. The public shall not know.
The White List: Can you give us an insight into how your working week looks?
Newton Scheufler: I wake up regularly between five and six in the morning eat breakfast, only black, at most a cappuccino. Feed my cats, open the studio, write and read until daylight reaches an optimal level. Pinto until late afternoon, with a brief stop for lunch. Then, I stop and step to the computer. I answer my emails, post something and work with digital art up to 20 o’clock. Then I have diner and chat with the beautiful brunette who shares my insanity. I read until midnight or keep drawing until sleep comes. But I’m not always so disciplined. I can keep drawing until 3 am, and if I am in the middle of a painting, I don’t stop for anything. At these times, I completely lose track of time. On Wednesdays, I join myself to a group of writers in metal. Over the weekend, to distract myself, I continue painting.
The White List: When did you realise that you wanted to create art?
Newton Scheufler: Other day I was drawing and I realized that my earliest memories are from when I was around three years old. I was drawing in a house in Porto Alegre, the city where I was born. I drew all day. I drew throughout my childhood. My father always filled the house with paper and pencil. Today I am 54 years old and I am still drawing. However it is true that, as the poet Hölderlin said, when questioned about his poetic activity, at one point had to affirm: I just declare sacred the disorder of my spirit.
The White List: If you could pick you favourite piece of art from your own work, what would it be, and why?
Newton Scheufler: I’d say that my favorite piece is always the next one. My sign is Aries. This may explain why I do only look forward and why I cannot live without a constant transformation. I not even have so much belief in astrology, but the archetype works. That is for sure. I look to the future. Much is still to come, and despite over 30 years of career, I’m just starting. The best is still to come.
The White List: Where can we go to see some of your work?
Newton Scheufler: I live in Brazil. Here you can see it in several places, in public and private collections. In addition, I maintain a website, artscheufler.com, and some virtual galleries at Saatchi, at Behance, at See.me and at Wedigital. I also keep a fan page on facebook. Some os my pieces are worldwide. It should be interesting to map them, but I myself do not have time.
The White List: If you could choose another artist to work or collaborate with, whom would this be and why?
Newton Scheufler: If the question had been asked a few years ago, I would say without hesitation: Antoní Tàpies. But as he passed away, so I would be happy to work with Anish Kapoor. I’m starting to make sculptures and do not know anyone more awesome than him.
The White List: What have we got to look forward to in the coming months? Can you tell us any exciting news of events or pieces that are due to be released?
Newton Scheufler: In June I will participate in a group show of engraving, with the engraving lady Leda Watson heading the group. Aquatint, etching, dry point are ancient techniques that can be used in a contemporary way with very interesting effects. I am also coordinating, along with Leda Watson and Lais Scuoto, a project called Brasilia 12 Studios, which honors the work of 12 artists creators of plastic tradition of the city. We are directing and editing a video documentary, a book and an exhibition with the works by these 12 important artists of the city. Additionally, as I said, I am working on a book of art and philosophy for children called The Philosopher Cat, which I hope will have it sponsorship approved soon. Not to mention the setup project Homo Cerratenses Infrmus, which fuses elements of my anthropological research on magical healing in the Amazon and Cerrado and my training in botanical medicinal plants. There was even a performance with my children and a kind of immersion in painting with several painters transmitted online, in real time, I’m still negotiating all for this year .
Thank you for taking the time to Speak to myself, Lloyd today. We truly love your work and the pieces are beautiful!