The Creative Spark: Dave Newman

After Jeanie Thorn answered my questions about her Creative Spark, she suggested I talk to her friend and fellow Arizona artist Dave Newman. You can meet him here, in this week’s Artist Profile. Oh, my, does his stuff resonate with me–I think we must have been to a lot of the same places when we were kids. Here’s Dave to tell you about what does it for him–


Dave in the studio with "Regular #5"

This piece that I picked was  just completed for a gallery show that I am having in Park City, UT, in August. It is called ”Regular # 5,” and it is 60×30 M/M on panel. All images were taken on our road trips  and also features cut up license plates, a 3D eagle and Lionel rail road tracks. I had done a similar gas pump piece years ago and on a recent road trip to Sante Fe, NM, we stopped in the little town of Embudo.



There we met Johnnie, who owns a great little oasis of signage, gas pumps and just really cool stuff. (Did I mention I love cactus and trees dead and very alive?). He was
willing to part with a few pieces and I saw this gas pump front and instantly knew this was a piece waiting to happen. Whenever I see metal or old objects with a cool patina  or texture  the camera comes out  first and then I want it for my collection for an art project. With the magic finish of old age,
multiple paint layers and rust, I know it has found a home. Some of these pieces are so one of a kind I have a hard time using them in an art piece and they become a permanent fixture in our house, in our yard or in my studio.


"Regular #5" 60x30

My heart rate increases when I see rusty metal, flea market signs and antique stores.  Love to rummage through boxes of stuff; you meet the greatest people on the road  and always see something you have never seen before. (We also have a 1966 Gulf gas pump in our living room). Old buildings and motel signs also get the blood pumping. We always ask the locals where
the great little food place is.


Dave at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas

I never do sketches; most of my ideas are spontaneous and I just kinda get in the studio, turn up the music and start creating. No staring at a blank canvas – just start the process.

I do wake up in the middle of the night quite often and maybe think about a piece that I am working on or new ideas pop into my head and very often put those thoughts into action the next morning.

This gas pump stretched into many days as I work on many pieces at the same time. I kinda knew the direction I wanted to go in and had some adjustments here and there. When I hit a road block on a piece I move on to another. Some pieces have many wrong turns and some just don’t work out, so I put them aside and come back to them later.  Sometimes I will go out to our courtyard and water the plants and poke around the yard filled  with our yard art and wildlife that will wonder by, just for a break. The only thing that I do work on and become obsessed until I finish them is some of the guitars that I do.

"Beverages Deluxe" 40x15

On some pieces I will get my wife Donna’s input. She has a great eye and sometimes reels me in when things get out of hand. Sometimes you know when it is done and then maybe you put it away andbring it back out and light it real well and that is the test. I also try and take a quick snooze with our studio cat Max in the overstuffed chair that we got at a garage sale. It is placed across from my working wall. When I wake up from my  nap the first thing I see are the pieces that I am working
on and it really is a fresh look, sounds crazy but it works for me. I have made many adjustments after these naps!



overstuffed studio napping chair


Big Max in the Studio

I really don’t plan things out or over think things. I feel that I know when things look good and that I am happy with the final result. I am self taught and started doing art when I was 32 years old. I also realize that not every piece that you do is a masterpiece but a lesson and practice and the
experience that you get from working on these art pieces gets you closer to the artist that you want to be.

I want to add that we did outdoor fine art shows for 11 years and met many artists on the road. We did our last outdoor art show about 7 years ago but have still stayed in touch with many of them. I like talking art with my artist friends from all over the country.  We made a lot of good connections,
a good mailing list and many gallery connections.

I am proud to be an artist and lucky enough to make a living from my art. It makes me feel good to connect with people of all ages and walks of life. Even if people don’t get what I do at least it might make them think about it.


Dave Newman

You can see more of Dave’s work at his fabulously fun (it makes noise!) website,


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