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Jason Newsted Showcases His ‘RAWK’ Art Exhibit + Shares How Metallica’s Lars Ulrich Influenced His Work [Exclusive Video]

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Metallica legend Jason Newsted recently set up shop to showcase his artwork at the prestigious Art New York exhibition at Pier 94 in Manhattan. Jason was kind enough to give us a personal tour of his collection and even explained how Lars Ulrich influenced his journey into painting.

Newsted used his artwork to get through the rehabilitation process of multiple shoulder surgeries, the first of which happened after a falling bass amp head ripped his right shoulder apart. While teaching himself to become more ambidextrous after the injury, Newsted developed a technique where he writes text with the left hand and paints with the right.

Amongst Newsted’s paintings include multilayered works where a phrase is repeated again and again until the words become lost in a tapestry of color. He also creates his own creatures, which aren’t inspired by existing pieces of mythology, but simply what resides in Newsted’s imagination. While showing some of his creatures, Newsted explained how the Ulrich family’s interest in art nurtured Newsted’s own appreciation for the medium.

“[Lars] had a good collection early on in his life,” Newsted explains. “I’d go over to his house and for the first time I was exposed to art brut — outsider art. He had all these framed pictures up around the pool table. I’m like, ’Your nephew paint you some pictures or something like that?’ He said, ‘No, these are from mental patients in mental institutions.’ It made me want to like it more and kind of be in his club with him to know what he knew about that stuff. It made me feel good and still, now, he’s very supportive of [my] stuff.”

Newsted also painted a collection of musicians from an imaginary band. “They’re not Slipknot, but they like Slipknot a lot,” Jason describes. He also revealed the band’s guitarist, General Disarray, was inspired by Buckethead and how the shredder likes to feel like he’s “at war” while playing. Jason himself is a member of this six-person band, showing us a deranged self portrait as a part of this collection.

Proceeds from Jason’s art is benefitting the Perry J. Cohen Foundation, named after a 14-year-old who went missing at sea in 2015. In a portrait titled “Lightning,” Newsted explains the bizarre coincidence of drawing seaweed-like hair on a oceanic background, giving Jason goosebumps as he spoke about it.

If you’re interested in more of Newsted’s work, he’s currently being represented by Gary Lichtenstein Editions at Mana. Check out our exclusive tour of Newsted’s work in the video above!

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