Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted is having his first solo art show presented in Miami during Art Basel, which runs December 3 to January 4 at The Sagamore Hotel. The exceptional exhibitis a survey of 12 years of work, along with new, site-specific installations that reflect Newsted's lifelong commitment to painting inspired by his extensive career as a Grammy Award-winning musician. His visual display illustrates the dynamic parallel between music, history and human expressions.
Newsted told WPTV: "Always knowing that someone is going to be there looking at it like you're doing something for a purpose as opposed to just doing it for the day because you enjoy the stroke or you enjoy the color or you enjoy the freedom, the meditation, whatever. This is for a purpose. This is for a reason. It's going to have a price tag. People are coming to see it, it changes your psyche, I think for myself it makes me want to try that much harder, you know. Maybe even more judgmental and critical than I would be normally."
Jason performed live with his ensemble, THE CHOPHOUSE BAND, at the event's private opening on December 5 and will play again at the Sagamore Brunch on Saturday, December 8.
Newsted began painting in 2005, after a series of shoulder injuries and subsequent surgeries left him unable to play his instrument. The work began as a hobby, and it wasn't until a year later that he considered showcasing the results.
"I started out figuring out what techniques would allow me to draw and paint while my arm was in a sling, so I threw things at the canvas using a spatula, with one hand," he told SF Weekly in a 2010 interview. "It was purposeful. I wanted each piece to mean something, and I wanted to paint a picture each day, as a reflection of what I was living and breathing at that time. The mentality was the same as my approach to writing music."
Newsted had an exhibition in San Francisco in 2010 and some of his paintings now go for tens of thousands of dollars. "Most of my work is abstract, mixed-media," he said in a 2013 interview. "Giant pictures about five by ten feet; plastic and acrylic. I also do some sculpture. I have eight or nine hundred pieces since 2004 and have studios in three different cities across the country. Some of my pieces go for maybe $150 for a little picture and some are $40,000 for a giant one. So there's something for everyone." Newsted says he's very influenced by Basquiat, Jean Dubuffet and Picasso. "Those guys are my BLACK SABBATH, MOTÖRHEAD and RUSH of painting," he said.