NICHOLAS NEWCOMB: AUTHENTIC VISIONS CRAFTED IN BROOKLYN
Rare are those among us who have been able to figure out their purpose before becoming adults - most of us are still trying to figure that out.
Nicholas Newcomb is one of these very few creative personalities whose true calling knocked at the door as he was still a little kid. Giving life to unique, simple handpainted homeware and decor goods using clay has from then become his genuine way to express his creative vision. His infectious passion and his hard work have led him to become a reference in the interior design industry.
As nothing is more truthfully inspiring and absorbing than getting a direct glimpse into an artist’s creative studio, we had the opportunity to share a slice of Nicholas’ and his two assistants’ time in his Bushwick ceramics workspace to learn more about his work process, his inspirations, his upcoming projects and his role in the local community.
Tell us a bit about you Nicholas, what led you to become a ceramicist?
In second grade, my Art Teacher Ms. Sysol, handed us a piece of clay and told us to make a self portrait. I made a Surfer Dude with a tank top that said, RAD. Next, she handed us a piece of very special clay that already knew what it wanted to be. We were to work the clay until it revealed itself. I made a round, stone shaped dog that could fly. After these two projects, I knew that I wanted to keep working in clay.
How do you come with your creative ideas and where do you get your inspiration from?
Ideas typically come from day to day life outside of the studio. It’s important that I get out and experience my environment. It may be a visit to a museum, a walk through the woods, or an afternoon digging through a pile of books. I look for shapes, textures and colors that challenge the norm. I like when I find something that is beautiful in an unconventional way. I also like when there’s a sense of history in an object. Maybe it looks familiar, or maybe it references another time. But it has to have some way of stirring emotion on a human level. Less intellectual and more emotional.
Can you share with us some of your sources of inspiration?
On a practical level, I look to art, fashion, interior design and architecture for inspiration. I love how designers are striving to elevate the way we live in our homes and how we see ourselves. It’s so immediate and evocative.
I often look for inspiration in work by artists like Patrick Mele, Nick Olsen and Nicolette Camille who are quite meaningful to me.
My current business inspiration comes from a handful of small makers/ entrepreneurs. Running a business as a ‘creative’ is very difficult. I am constantly pushed and pulled between being practical and chasing inspiration. It’s an internal battle. But by looking at the community around me, I can keep focus and work towards a long goal of ‘staying in business’ and living an inspired life.
And I also follow companies and makers like Coral & Tusk, John Derian, B Zippy & Co, MQuan Studio and Eric Trine from Amigo Modern.
Who are some of the people that inspired your journey ?
I have to acknowledge my older brother, Scott https://www.instagram.com/newcombworks/, for inspiring me to pursue the arts. Our parents always encouraged us to do what we love and make sure that we were happy in life. But it wasn’t until I saw my brother put this advice into action, that I actually saw a way to live life as an artist. For me, making art isn’t a career or a job, it’s a lifestyle. It’s about considering all aspects of my day to day life as moments of beauty, moments of inspiration, opportunities to explore and create spaces for love. Most of all, it’s about making a life I love and having fun doing it.
How do you pull yourself out of really low moments?
I’m sure it’s the same in most industries. In the arts, there are highs and lows, strikes and gutters. I’ve learned over the years that tough times pass. I just have to keep pushing forward and stay focused on the long game. But this goes true for the good times too. They are fleeting and must be appreciated in the moment.
What is your personal motto ?
Do dope shiit. (recently added, ...and get paid.)
How do you incorporate self-care into your life ?
Live/work balance is continual target goal for me. It’s something that I work towards, knowing that once I achieve it, I have to embrace it, and work just as hard to maintain it. I keep a journal of to do lists. It’s got everything from calling the physical therapist, to ordering clay, and filing my taxes. Once every few weeks, I schedule a personal day during the work week. It may mean grabbing lunch with an old buddy, midday movies with my wife, or checking out a few art shows in the city. I feel like it’s a real ‘win’ to spend a work day taking personal time.
Can you share some of your go-to restaurants in New York?
Since having twins in the fall of 2017, I can’t say that I have a chance to explore any local hot restaurants. Those days are a bit behind me, and not too far in the future… I hope. Our current favorite deliveries are Mexican from Chavella’s on Franklin Ave in Crown Heights, and Thai from Song in Park Slope. Thanks so much for recent technology, we can get delivery from anywhere. Lately, I have been sneaking off to Sycamore on Cortelyou in Ditmass Park for drinks with buds. It’s a small step to regaining my life back since 24/7 dad duties.
And your favorite coffee shops?
Our weekend ritual is to take the kids and dog down to Cafe Madaline on Cortelyou. The coffee is always perfect and in the summer they have the best fresh juices. The watermelon water makes me feel like I’m on vacation.