Published March 26, 2021
Jason Newsted, the former bassist of Metallica, a band some if not many of us head-banged to in the 80s and 90s began dabbling in art in 2006 after an accident that resulted in a couple of injuries. As Newsted began to focus more on his art-making, he drew more inspiration from artists he admired such as Picasso, Jean Fautrier, Willem de Kooning, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Over the years, Newsted’s work has evolved into six distinct styles but has consistently been mixing soil into acrylics to create highly dramatic effects. In what he calls his tapestries, he uses two hands to write sentences or a verse from a song as he spins the canvas to create layer upon layer of the verses. The end result is an abstract piece reminiscent of Pollock whose lyrical basis is left obscured. “I take pictures of it at every stage and give them to the buyer so they can see what it says. And once you live with it for a while, if you focus on one color and let your brain zombie out, you can find the letters or words”, Newsted says.
Newsted found solace through painting and has since produced a number of large original paintings and sculptures over the last half decade. His first solo exhibition opened in 2010 at Micaela Gallery in San Francisco and has had other shows since then. According to him, his personal favorites are homages he created in tribute to his friends and inspirational figures he lost including Alice in Chains’ late vocalis Layne Staley, film director Akira Kurosawa, and Basquiat. “The best ones come from a deep, deep place where I’m paying respect. The same for music. The deeper the song and what it means to me, I put that much more love into it.”