Meet the Artist

Newnam paints Desert Ridge mural amid 50-state project

Posted 7/6/21

• My name is: Kayla Newnam

• I live in: Phoenix, AZ

• I create: Large-scale outdoor and indoor murals, paintings, pop-up cards, puzzles and anything else creative that seems fun …

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Meet the Artist

Newnam paints Desert Ridge mural amid 50-state project

Posted

• My name is: Kayla Newnam

• I live in: Phoenix, AZ

• I create: Large-scale outdoor and indoor murals, paintings, pop-up cards, puzzles and anything else creative that seems fun to work on!

• I was inspired to be an artist by: I had a lot of different influences growing up. My parents were both very creative and encouraged me and my siblings to explore all our interests to find our passions. Artmaking was the one that I stayed consistent with throughout my life. I went to Pratt Institute of Art and Design in Brooklyn, NY for Painting and my professors, who were all very successful working artists, made a profound impact on my journey as an artist.

• I’m currently working on: I am just starting a 50-state mural project where I’ll travel the nation in my renovated and painted camper to create a mural in each state. This project has been two years in the making and I can’t wait to get going. I just kicked off the project at Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix and will be moving onto Colorado and Utah next. The goal for the project is to connect with different communities in a creative way. Public art is extremely important just for the simple fact that it is truly for everyone. It is not confined to a gallery and gives people a very direct way to connect to the art world and to their own community.

Pictured: Phoenix artist Kayla Newnam works on her painted mural at Desert Ridge Marketplace. (Photos by Dana Gibbons)

• This year I’m most looking forward to: Meeting people in different communities and other artists all over the country along my journey!

• The challenges of being an artist include: Beginning a career in art means that you are a creator, a marketer, a website designer, salesperson, accountant and assistant all in one. It is tough to be creative sometimes while learning and working on the administrative side of things. I worked at Scottsdale Public Art for five years and that time was invaluable to me. That is where I learned the most on how to coordinate bigger projects and made me realize that large projects are possible!

• Other activities I enjoy are: I enjoy camping and traveling, playing with my dogs, watching trashy reality shows, seeing live comedy, and learning different forms of art-making.

• If I had four hours with absolutely nothing to do on a Saturday, here’s how I would spend it: Take a nap! And then five minutes into it, I’d panic about all the things I have to do and watch tv, eat kraft mac ‘n’ cheese, paint my nails and make lists.

• My No. 1 suggestion to new artists is: Be fearless and professional! Get involved with local art organizations and network with other creatives. The only way to be a part of the art scene is to get to know how the art scene works and the people involved. I am always inspired and encouraged by the people who surround me so I work extra hard to put myself in situations where I can learn and grow more in my own practice.

Pictured: Artist Kayla Newnam's mural at Desert Ridge Marketplace. (Submitted photo) 

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