Multidisciplinary Artist, Art Jeweler, CAD Designer.

Newell Catania

Having experienced abuse on multiple fronts, I have difficulties with emotionally vulnerability. Experiences with familial turbulence, intimate partner violence, fatphobia, misogyny, homophobia, and neurodivergence were defining factors in my life for a long time. These moments of rejection and heartbreak determined my self-worth. I understood that the smaller I was, the less space I consumed, the more value I would have. I now examine obscured vulnerability in my work, finding peace in hiding the truth. It’s transformed into a gift available only for those who look long enough to find it. Business serves as a protective device.

What does it mean to be reduced? I spend time processing the impact of nuanced messaging telling us to shrink; physically, emotionally, romantically, artistically. Boiling down my experiences and ideologies to increase the consumption of the work is devastating. Describing all aspects of my work and person in a short statement feels like shrinking. Nonetheless, it’s a prerequisite for surviving as an artist under capitalism. My practice is influenced by viewing these norms through a critical lens, encouraging me to pursue alternate modes of survival. I’ve incorporated parts of who I am into the work, learning to let my instincts inform what I make in an intuitive way. I’m determining what it means to create visual representations of queerness, neurodivergence, fatness, gender fuckery, and otherness. Learning what “feels right” in my work, as opposed to what may sell, helps me make decisions regarding form, finish, and function. Often times, what feels right is striving for expansiveness. Materially, conceptually, formally, and physically.

I am an art jeweler, sculptor, fiber artist, and beyond. More importantly, I’m a whole person. I’m a lover of stuff and things, a collector. Materiality and character are important, pulling me to the personality of found objects. My collection of objects is compulsive, finding things in thrift stores, studio drawers, and the ground. The thought process behind what gets picked up is still a somewhat of a mystery to me, although color and emotional connection certainly play a role. What does it mean to take a discarded object; one with a predetermined low or negative value, and increase its worth through transformation? Amalgamating materials, time, and labor from hands I once considered useless amplifies the power of these rejected treasures; criticizing social prescriptions of desirability. I think about the acts of finding, observing, and witnessing, and how rare it is to appreciate the “worthless”. It’s healing to care for objects that have been abandoned, resulting in an emotional bond between myself and the work.