Since he can remember, Christian has been besotted with creating objects in some form or other – it’s the one common link in everything he’s done.
In the 1990’s, it was floristry and taxidermy (he studied and qualified in both). Floristry took him to regional Australia, and later Canada, to compete in floral design competitions. “The curse of floristry is that everything you create ultimately dies.
the challenge of taxidermy is to create the illusion of life into something that is dead.”
It lead him to horticulture. A work accident left him with a back injury. Soon after that he was diagnosed with acute adjustment disorder. The depression/back pain and no creative outlet nearly did him in.
He tried his hand as a radio announcer on community radio, taxi driving, dole bludging and a bunch of jobs.
He enrolled at TAFE in a few computer courses and volunteered at a local Maritime museum in his spare time, to get out of dark moods and get out of the house.
He stumbled across carving. First it was clay, then Hebelstone and then wood. Carving wood lead to bigger wood carving, and ultimately in 2014 he picked up a chainsaw and tried his hand at chainsaw woodcarving with it. That was his eureka moment.
He remarked” wood has life; It’s got character and charm and a mystery all on its own that takes creativity, imagination, skill, and a fair bit of luck to uncover. Quoted with saying “I’m never going to master it, I’m never going to conquer it or reach mastery, and for that reason, I love it.” Since then, he spends his days wielding a chainsaw, covered in sawdust and smiling like an idiot.
There is no TAFE course for chainsaw carving, so he is self-taught using Instagram and YouTube for tuition and inspiration instead.
It has lead him to take life drawing lessons to improve drawing figures and lines. It has also lead him to start selling his work and earning money selling his wood sculptures. It’s lead Christian to push himself outside his comfort zone, take creative risks and has given him a desire to show himself creatively.
“Ultimately, I’m going to be able to earn a living doing what I now love. I’m a stubborn bastard. I know it’s not a case of IF I can do it, it’s just a case of how long it takes me.”
Last year was Christian’s SWELL debut, resulting in quick sales of his major and minor pieces. He even found himself in the public eye, giving “meet the artist” talks about his artistic process.
2021 SWELL ARTWORK – Uprooted, Christian Newton
Uprooted comprises of fifteen individual gastropod creatures. Altruistic in nature, the shell animal forms can be seen clustered together, exploring their immediate surroundings. These creatures encapsulate our adaptation as a community to the unprecedented changes and challenges placed upon us in recent years.
Come and see for yourself at SWELL Sculpture Festival, Pacific Parade, Currumbin 10-19 September.