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Love, passion, energy, and colors: The art of Dodo Newman

Dear Dodo Newman, I would like to start our interview with your striking words about passion and love: "Passion cannot be learned, faked, or copied. It is something that burns like fire, and if you don't keep it alive, it can soon burn out. The source of my passion has always been loved, the love of people who are inspired by what I create and what I can give back." Can we say that these sentences are the main idea or philosophy of Dodo Newman's art?

That's exactly what I would say! The main energy that drives everything I create is love for what I do, why I do it, and what I get back. This is the cycle of energy that creates worlds. This energy needs to be nurtured and nourished every day, which doesn't always happen. I have also had many periods in my journey where this flame faded, or I thought it was completely extinguished. It took me a while to realize that it is never gone, it is there, we just need to reach out and bring it to the surface and then use it wisely. We only see that light when we are in the dark, and we only learn how to use it when the light has faded. Love is joy and freedom - these are the main energies that I need to create in every area of my life.

Dodo Newman, Dance of Joy, acrylic, oil on canvas, 120x160cm.

You grew up in a diplomatic family and have traveled all over the world. You have been to many countries: India, Iran, Italy, England, the USA, France, and Monaco. They were born in Hungary and live in Germany. It's like a colorful photo from a mystical world. Can we say that the colors of your paintings have roots from all over the world?

Absolutely. I like to imagine that I am the one who brings the colors back to those who left them behind or forgot them. It's so easy to get caught up in our everyday lives and forget that we all have colorful imaginations, unique visions, characteristics, traits, and life experiences that no one ever had or will have.

As different as we are around the world, we are also connected and one. We are different in our uniqueness and yet we are connected, intertwined. What affects one affects all others and everything: People, animals, plants, nature, our planet, and the unseen. Since we are all interconnected, we need to pay attention to all of it. I intend to bring back that sense of oneness that makes life so special. It is a paradox because we are different and yet one, not separate, united by life energy that binds us together. It is this mystery and wonders that I bring through my art, my writings, my lectures, speeches, and videos, in the form of expression that I choose.

At what stage in your life did you decide to become interested in art? When was the turning point?

As a child, I was always in my imaginative and very creative. I was always creating something, be it drawing, knitting, or sewing. As I grew up, I attended several art classes, and summer schools and learned the basics from the artists themselves. Even though the form of art kept changing - first I wanted to be an animator, then I learned to be a fashion designer - it was always something related to creativity. I never had any doubt that I always wanted to follow a creative path.

I've had some periods in my life where I faced challenges and didn't do art, and buried it deep inside me, and it seemed like I lost that direction in life, and yet art emerged and found me again every time. I think the turning point where I decided to focus completely on making art was when I came to Berlin, Germany in late 2008. I had this determination that no one could take away from me, and despite all the challenges and obstacles, I moved to Berlin to make and give art.

But I also had other breaking points along the way, like when I hit rock bottom a few years ago. After a personal life situation of the one that caused everything around me to fall apart, I almost gave up on art, but then found my way back to it step by step. As someone who lives from his creative energy, it is closely linked to my life, and so I had to return to it, just as I built my life from scratch, stone by stone.

For this reason, during the pandemic, I wrote the book "Creating Again," to be published later this year, to help other artists and creatives who have faced or are facing similar challenges and obstacles - especially from my life experiences and insights.

I also recently created an online course on this, which also gives practical guidance to those who feel lost in our world and believe they have lost their creative energies as well. Art is not just something I do because I love it, but somehow, I believe it is part of my life's mission to contribute to transformation through my art and its message.

There is deep energy that drives and guides me to walk this path. I always say that I don't make art, but the art is me and through it, I can be part of a greater creation.

Dodo Newman, Life energy II, acrylic, pigments, oil on canvas, 80x100 cm.

Strong colors and shapes, the use of space and light are in your artworks. They are full of energy. What is your secret? Can we easily call your style abstract expressionism?

I think that's the style to put it in, at least that's what my teacher told me when I first learned techniques from him. I also felt more inspired by the abstract expressionists. But my art is also lyrical and full of movement that expresses energies.

Space and energy have an interesting history and meaning to my path and the art I create. I never had the opportunity to learn art academically, but at some point, I was approached by a well-known artist who lived in Hungary at the time. He said he wanted to teach me all kinds of techniques that could help me express myself through art. When I first presented my paintings to him for review, he said he could see that I lacked the skills that can be learned through discipline in school. But he said that I bring out the sense of space and vastness in my work that cannot be learned because it is something we are born with - it is within us. He found that this inherent and naturally expressed space is the main characteristic of my art. It has been my main moving element ever since.

I have always been fascinated by energies, the movement of things we cannot see with our eyes, the invisible universe. Our inner emotions, for example, are all energies moving in our inner space. The ideas and thoughts we have are forms of energy, life itself is energy.

Source from which all people and everything on our planet live. I express this energy through the dance of light and colors, shapes and textures that contrast and sometimes fall apart and then dance in a way.

Dodo Newman, Layers unfolding, acrylic, oil on canvas, 100x80 cm.

You have connections to Monaco and the royal family. Can you tell us something about this exciting project?

I wouldn't talk about connections, but I had a connection to Monaco through one of the symbolic artworks that I created for Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Since my life is intertwined with the art I create, this project was also a reflection of my life at the time I created it. I was pregnant with my daughter when I created this project as a symbol of love and union for the Princess of Monaco. Since I was often in Monaco for personal reasons at the time, the artwork was also associated with Monaco.

The entire artwork is a piece full of symbols. It was made with resin and pigments on plexiglass, which is cut in the middle by a wave that separates the two parts. The two parts are connected yet separate, signifying that our lives and the people we meet are connected yet unique. The main colors are different shades of purple, the princess' favorite color, and oyster colors, which are fabulous and change in mysterious ways. I love this play of colors as it changes with the different times of day and seasons. On each piece of the artwork is a large piece of charcoal surrounded by many small diamonds. This symbolizes the cycle of life and death that is part of our human life.

One side of the artwork was donated to the princess and the other was purchased privately. For me, this artwork is more than its luxurious materials and its connection to Monaco.

When I was pregnant at the time, and while I was creating it, I was looking forward to bringing a new life into the world. My daughter is another gift of life. Through her, I discovered more of my true self and deepened my sense of life. During this time, I experienced immense joy and also pain, sadness. These two parts of emotions are in our lives in our life. We cry and laugh, and then we laugh again. Expecting the child gave me a new beginning and showed me that life is a wonderful adventure if you see it and live it that way. So, this part of the project is connected to life, love, and my daughter.

The cultural commemoration project for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic was inspired by you. Can you share your experience?

Whenever I have a project, a vision in my mind, there is a meaning behind it. Just like the piece for the Princess of Monaco, this project commemorating the legendary Titanic ship also had a deeper meaning. There were 43 nations aboard the Titanic, all pursuing a dream and wanting to start a new beginning in America, in a new land. They were filled with hope, people with an incredible diversity of backgrounds, genders, cultures, and life experiences guided by faith and hope, all in one boat. We are all in one boat, just like those people were back then. We are all one, no matter where we come from. We are united by hope, life, death, and dreams to shape our lives.

What I enjoyed most was working with 13 embassies in Germany, nations that were also on board the Titanic. They collaborated on the publication we created for this project, and I also exhibited my work in some embassies. My art is also in some of these embassies.

It was very interesting to see how these embassies contributed to the project with their cultural knowledge, even though they were different. We all worked. We all worked together harmoniously because of the story, because of the meaning it had.

I love stories that uplift us because they teach us and inspire us. This project is dedicated to my grandmother, who was my hero. She was a Holocaust survivor and yet an amazingly uplifting and wise person. She was strong and full of energy throughout her life. As you can see, my art also reflects my life, because as I said, art is me.

The cultural commemoration project for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic was inspired by you. Can you tell us about your experience?

Whenever I have a project or a vision in my head, there is a meaning behind it. Just like the piece for the Princess of Monaco, this project commemorating the legendary Titanic ship also had a deeper meaning. There were 43 nations aboard the Titanic, all pursuing a dream and wanting to start a new beginning in America, in a new land. They were filled with hope, people with an incredible diversity of backgrounds, genders, cultures, and life experiences guided by faith and hope, all in one boat. We are all in one boat, just like those people were back then. We are all one, no matter where we come from. We are united by hope, life, death, and dreams to shape our lives.

What I enjoyed most was working with 13 embassies in Germany, nations that were also on board the Titanic. They collaborated on the publication we created for this project, and I also exhibited my work in some embassies. My art is also in some of these embassies. 

It was very interesting to see how these embassies contributed to the project with their cultural knowledge, even though they were different. We all worked. We all worked together harmoniously because of the story, because of the meaning it had. 

I love stories that uplift us because they teach us and inspire us. This project is dedicated to my grandmother, who was my hero. She was a Holocaust survivor and yet an amazingly uplifting and wise person. She was strong and full of energy throughout her life. As you can see, my art also reflects my life, because as I said, art is me.

 Dodo Newman, Swimming in calm and joy, acrylic, pigments, oil on canvas, 80x60 cm.

What are your next, future project plans?

Since I have been involved with space since I was a child, I plan to work on this theme, inner and outer space, or universe. Everything we see around us is also within us. The journey outward begins with the journey inward. The more we discover about our outer universe, the more we realize that all of it is also within us. Somehow the outer and inner universes are connected, which in turn is a mystery that opens new visions.

I am also very interested in combining the traditional techniques with the new ones, digital techniques. Respecting the past and combining it with innovative elements is exciting and can appeal to and reach more people.

You have artworks in very important collections like the Saudi royal family and the royal family of Monaco. How did you feel when you sold your works? What can you say to art lovers who are planning to buy your works? 

For me, it doesn't matter who buys my artworks, who wants to live with them, and who collects them, whether it's a fee or not. What matters is what my art makes you feel. If it makes you feel different, if it reminds you of something, takes you to another place, moves you, and makes you think about deeper things, then I have given you my art.

Buying is an important element because it keeps the energy alive and contributes to making more art. I live through this cycle of energy. Giving someone joy when they see my art and imagine it - is a special bond between artist and buyer/collector.

I have collectors all over the world, and I love the idea that pieces of my history, imagination, and vision can be found in different homes, in different places in the world. 

Art is more than just decoration; it brings a piece of the inner world to life. When someone decides to buy my artwork, they decide to also have a piece of that inner energy and make it their own.

Just as every piece of art I create has a story, every piece of art someone buys has a special story, a meaning attached to it. That connection is special, and it is the real value.

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