Five years ago the Monaco Business Society, led by Ivor Alex invited the artist Dodo Newman to Monaco’s Residents Club, the Club Residents Etrangers Monaco (CREM). Since then she has inspired many residents, International University of Monaco (IUM) MBA students as well she has created multiple artworks for the Princely family. She was also the person who predicted already in 2013 the birth of the royal children, Princess Gabriella and Princess Jacques.
1., In 2012 you held an inspiring speech at Monaco’s residents club the CREM, in 2013 you made a lecture for the IUM MBA luxury students and you also donated a special wedding memorabilia to Monaco’s Princely Family. However since then you live in Berlin, Germany. What has happened with you since you left Monaco?
Since that period I have had huge transformations, blessings in various forms and on many levels in my life. One of my favourite quote from Marcel Proust would describe the best way this time of my journey:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes”.
During this period of transformation I began to see in new light all areas that were important for me, myself, my art, my dreams, my relationships to other people, to money and success.
Life has gifted me with a child, a girl who was born with love. She is my creation and my teacher too, I learned to give unconditionally through her.
I also went through a very difficult, life turning phase with lots of dark moments, struggles, seemingly impossible obstacles, challenges. I remained alone as a woman and left without any type of support with my daughter. As an artist I had to figure out how to give, spiritually and materially, to myself and to my child.
I used this dark phase to dig into my Soul and to face my biggest fears in order to transform and renew myself and through it to find back again to my heart, which is my art and my dreams.
You see when you are in the dark you have to first work together with it. The effort and work with it is the light in itself that guides you out from the darkness. And this is what happened to me to. I had a strong faith in my highest Self and knew deep inside I was destined to be much more valuable, to bring wonders and other dreams to people.
I received the greatest blessings, gifts, revelations, awakening points in this dark period from which new art, new relationships, new dreams, new doors opened up.
I am now in the renewal phase of the journey, ready for the new to enter my life.
2., During your lectures you stated that art and business, art and luxury should go hand in hand. Do you still believe that art can inspire business?
Art is life itself, it is the creative energy that is realised in the form of music, painting, literature, films, etc. Creativity is not limited solely to art, it relates to an essential way of thinking, visionalizing, problem solving in all areas of life, such as in business as well.
In business, just as in other fields of life the ways to find solutions to challenges, the way of including new ideas, new visions and going about to make them real is art in itself, it involves also the imagination. It takes a different mind set, one that is open to the new, the different, the unusual, the one that does not limit itself to the ordinary, average things and ways of bringing forth new processes, paths, products, solutions.
I believe the future of any field in life, including that of business too will include more of such thinking, creative state of being for the reason of transforming, renewing stale, worn-out patterns. Just think of the way businesses are developing in their structural forms with innovative structures such as Virgin Galactic, Google, etc. Think also about the products that are being developed, more and more including original, artistic elements, designs, aiming to bring an artistic touch into people’s lives.
Art, which is not only about a painting, rather a way of approaching and realising aims, will be more and more taught also in schools all around the world. Not only are science, technology, mathematics important, learning in a straight line, according to structured and defined themes. The future children will be given the freedom to make use of their creative mind-set, which will support them later on no matter what fields they will choose to work and live in.
Innovation in any field is art itself, no wonder we call anything “the art of …”. It takes time but also courage to build something new from nothing. In business, just like in art, when the intention is to bring about new solutions to problems, challenges, to create new products, services for the betterment, it takes time and openness to create and make these happen.
As weird it may sound but I truly believe that when one creates art is in the same state of being, mind-set as when one develops new things in business or in other fields too. An artist is a creator and we all have that Creator in us.
3., What makes someone become an artist?
I believe an artist does not become one but rather is born one with a special and privileged gift. It is a calling, a mission which no matter which part or phase in life it appears, it eventually shows up in a strong and driving way.
In my life, even though I was gifted with creativity and lots of passion to all that is art, I was given a big “No” signal towards it by my environment, and in particular by my father. I found my way towards it notwithstanding the continuous and further “No”s. There were many points when seemingly everything was against all I have been striving for, however even in these phases, circumstances I kept on believing and knowing this is my path.
Every child is born a natural artist with huge potential for creativity, imagination.
This creativity might stay with different degrees within each and every one if us as we grow up throughout the years.
What makes an artist stand out is that art becomes a part of his or her life in every sense. It becomes part of how he or she makes a living from it, how he or she lives, how he or she balances it with other parts of life eg. family, children, friends, peers, daily routines, health, etc.
Art becomes the artist’s main purpose of life around which all other elements of life and desires gravitate.
I believe there is a difference between someone who has artistic, creative desires as a pass time activity or hobby and someone for whom it becomes a life time dedication, pursuance of self realization through it. This last one is what really makes one an artist.
I always say that I do not create art, I express my Soul, my dreams, my visions, my beliefs and hopes with love through art.
4., Since 2012 you are a mother yourself. I recall that during your speech at the CREM someone asked from the audience whether you will give up on art when your daughter will be born and you said “no”. How has this new circumstance influenced your art?
I never imagined to have a child, somehow it never was among my plans. For a long time my artworks were my babies.
The birth of a child is always a miracle, it is life celebrating itself. When I first saw my daughter, my creation, after giving birth my first expression was: “How beautiful she is!”, just like an artwork. And this is the way I have been seeing her as well as motherhood since then.
Being a mother has given me a new dimension of life, which has also been infused into how I see myself, and how I can give this back to others in the form of art. Through her I received and learned many important and helpful strengths for creating like for example patience, understanding, opening up my heart, care.
To look into my daughter’s eyes every day and to see the love shining through it has opened my own eyes to the beauty of life in every sense, which has and will be always an element in my art.
5., Do you think struggle is a necessary element in an artist’s life?
I believe that contrast is a necessary element in life and especially in that of the artist until he or she finds, or rather feels his or her way through them.
It is a path from darkness to beauty and self revelation, until the point where the artist does not need anymore this struggle.
An artist is a person who rises above the societal collective thoughts, beliefs in order to find new perspectives, new thoughts, new ideas. It requires great courage and belief to seek and to bring back new ways and visions to others while not getting lost or pulled back.
I believe every true artist has a life struggle, a story to tell, which has given them depth and the beauty to rise again.
The most successful artists through their own struggle have not only opened up new doors to humanity as a whole, but at the same time have also found new levels of awareness, contributing to renewal and transformation in every field.
6., In your view what is more important the art, the artist or the artwork?
Everything is connected, we cannot separate the art from the artist or from the artwork. This is why art is for our Soul like our heart is for our body, giving our Soul and body the necessary life energy.
The artwork is the self-expression of the artist: all the dreams, the hopes, the struggles, the pain, the fear, the love and the strength. The artist lives through the artworks and seeks self realisation through them.
Understanding the artist behind the artwork is crucial in my point of view, because this is the only way one can grasp the meaning, essence of it. If you can imagine how the artist comes to the final idea and realisation of the artwork, you understand and have an overview of the layers, the steps in life that led to it. The artwork is the final realisation of many moments of thoughts, ideas, life experiences, coincidences.
7., Talking about art, when you donated the wedding memorabilia to Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco you wished them two children (as the artworks were created by two bonding pieces). However talking about the royal heirs was a taboo back then in Monaco. How did you feel when in December 2014, the Princely couple announced their twins, Jacques and Gabriella? Basically life confirmed your positive prediction.
It was a huge surprise for me, since this theme was really a taboo in Monaco. When I created the wedding artwork for the royal couple of Monaco I was also soon to be expecting a child myself. So, it was somehow a reflection of my inner state at that time.
I so wished for Princess Charlene that she too would feel that same wonderful, miraculous feeling of newness in life, that I too was feeling. It was probably this deep set wish of mine that came back as a memory to me when I heard about the news of the twins.
My artwork, of which I donated one part to Princess Charlene, received a new meaning from that point on. It was not anymore a wedding gift, it became a symbol of faith, love and the potential of new possibilities.
8., You have two very different “jobs”. You are a mother as well as a woman artist. How difficult it is for a single mother to focus on her artistic inspirations as well to find priorities and balances?
It is definitely a challenge to find the right balance between all these various elements, the material and the spiritual, the unseen and the physical, to be true to all these parts at the same time.
As an artist the challenge is to find my way in both my spiritual awareness as well as the material one in a balanced way. One is needed for the other one. I believe many artists loose themselves in one world or the other, which is quite easy to do.
There is one thing that is definitely needed for the right balance, which is peace and stillness inside. I went through a very difficult and hard time when there was much chaos and tough moments around me almost every single day, during which I had almost no inspiration, no strength to focus on my art as well as it was incredibly difficult to keep my priorities in the every day moments.
I found refuge in connecting with my Soul and found my peace and healing bit by bit. As my heart opened up again and I reconnected with my true self, my dreams and my faith in myself, not only did my inspirations come back but also the parts of my life started to fall back into place again.
Inspiration usually can come any time during the day: in my dreams, in the middle of traffic, while eating or talking with others. It can be at times hard to adjust to other daily priorities but I look at focusing on my priorities as an additional value I learn for my artistic inspiration.
Contrary to what many people believe, being true to art and the giving through and with it requires positive discipline and perseverance every day and moment. The discipline I put in every day tasks has helped me in putting it in my spiritual and my artistic development. I look at this task as my platform to be wiser and better than I was before in both the spiritual and the material world and to inspire and motivate others to not give up on their highest desires, dreams and aims.
9., How do you see and experience being a woman artist today?
I see and still feel a lot of bias and problems in the art world for women artists.
There is a lot of misconception as to what a woman artist represents and what they stand for, how they find their success and balance in life. I believe motherhood and changes of roles are one of the main reasons for this misconception. It is indeed a great task to maintain the focus on art while being with one or more children, especially since art and motherhood are both life time vocations. On the other hand motherhood opens up another level of consciousness for the artist, that when it is expressed in art, can achieve unimagined levels of intensity. In my eyes the changing roles and transformation that a woman goes through her life path is an advantage and not a disadvantage.
My life time aim is to inspire others through my art and through my life too. I want to give to other people strength and belief in themselves through my own life, showing that a woman artist can be at the same time a woman with beauty, confidence and grace, a mother who is caring and supporting, can have harmonious relationships in her private as well as her artistic life as well as can be an active artist bringing spiritual and material value to people.
10., Do you think it is important for a country to promote art?
Artists are the forerunners of free expression, new ideas, motivation, in one word: transformation. Wherever there is some type of suppression of this artistic freedom and cut back of promotion of art, ignorance and ego driven behaviours prevail, bringing society to lower levels of consciousness.
I believe that first and foremost creative thinking and imagination starts within the individual and parallel should be promoted and taught in all schools at an early age because children are the future society, humanity of our world. A child who is taught to use his or her imagination, creative abilities at home and in school, has a much more open and flexible mind and attitude in solving things later in life and in finding solutions, building rather than destroying.
Promoting art is much more than pure funding of cultural institutions and other organisations, it is the collective attitude of valuing the importance of art and its key players.
11., Looking back to your years in Monaco how would you summarise it, what did you learn or what has inspired you most as an artist?
Monaco is a beautiful place with lots of wealth in every sense. I however realised it soon that my artistic Being inspires most from an other type of abundance, which consists of contrasts and dynamics.
In Monaco I felt that things were mainly about the surface, the display, the perfectionism. I missed the depth and intensity of life, which is the base of my art.
Nevertheless what I truly found amazing in Monaco is the international mix of people in such a small place. Also, what I truly liked and gave me lots of warmth were the small, hidden places without tourists, where the sea was bluer, the sun was stronger, the wind was cooler and where you could meet the people who actually lived there since many generations. These were the places and people that gave me an insight as to what Monaco stood for in the past, and why it is still such a powerful place despite its tiny appearance.
12., For the upcoming years what is your dream vision of creation, the one for which you have a burning desire to realize?
The vision I have for my next creation has as its source my own life experience and it is around awakening from darkness to light. My aim is to show through my art that the awakening of the individual effects humanity and our Planet as a whole – from which perspective we are all one -reaching transformation.
I feel the desire to express myself more from my heart using a combination of artistic elements, combining the traditional and the new.
I feel a deep passion to contribute with my artistic expression to the elevation of people to a higher level of awareness, whereby it is not anymore about destruction, suffering, fear, anger but about building, peace, joy and harmony.