Newton Ingestore seems to live in an alternate space/time continuum to the rest of us. His illustration is bold, dynamic and uncompromising with lines that are sometimes fluid and amorphously suggestive of protozoan life forms, and at other times angular and jarring. The colours he uses are combined like fizzy elements in a particularly lurid cocktail. Whether collaging hue-shifted landscapes or performing pen-based interventions on found photographs, there is an intense sense of wonder about these illustrations, and a playfulness and sense of mischief that shouldn’t necessarily be seen as flippant. There is considered social commentary behind much of Newton’s work. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a treat.
Newton’s world is one of wonderment and curiosity; full of the excitement of creativity, but balanced by a healthy-ish anger at the manifold cruelty of same world. He stands against injustice, bigotry and dullness. He stands for vibrancy, dissent and variance, and celebrates the absurd. He’s a difficult man to get hold of. I managed to track him down with a satellite videophone somewhere in the Arctic making sure the oil companies don’t come back. He told me about recent thought experiments and the progress he has made on his mind machine, but told me if I told anyone I would be erased by a massive pencil eraser.
I wonder who the amoebic creatures are in his drawings. I wonder what he has for breakfast. He replied, “No comment. Cornflakes.” I asked him why he draws, and he said, “You don’t ask a bird why it flies. Also, for money.” When I asked him what he thought the purpose of art was, he asked what the purpose of me was.
When do you work usually? In the day?
“I’m in the Arctic Circle; it’s difficult to tell, but mainly at night.”
Are the nights long there?
“Right now, they’re shorter than you think. Which like most disproportionate timeframes is too long.”
Do you think your drawing will change anything?
“It might make some people laugh, it might make some people angry. People are reactionary creatures.”
What reaction do you want?
“A full-spectral range radius, and hopefully some creation from it.”
You want to inspire people?
“No, because then I’m a wannabe. I’ve inspired you to write an article.”
What are your key themes?
“The environment, politics, space, philosophy.”
Do you like music?
“I hate you.”
That sounded like an AI conversation.
“It’s funny you should say that, I’ve just done a book cover for my friend, Johnny Burrage.”
What’s the book?
“I can’t disclose the title yet, it would be a fate worse than death.”
How would you define your process?
“I try to be fluid and tangential, and also sometimes use a rebus of my own making. And sometimes pastiche over the top of found images to the context of whatever I’m working with, surmising quickly.”
What do you want for Christmas?
Is that a type of herring?
“What, like Keith?”