Born in New Orleans, Rashaad Newsome is a NY-based artist who has spent the last decade showcasing his art throughout the country. His work was recently featured in W Magazine and his “Five” performance art piece was part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial. He works in various media from photography to performance art but is best known for his performance art pieces and for his collage coats of arms. In his reintepreted coats of arms, Rashaad replaces traditional iconography such as lions and griffins with hip-hop totems such as cars and video vixens. His love for music and specifically hip-hop culture are evident throughout his work. Additionally his love for hip-hop culture has inspired him to create custom coats of arms for artists such as Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim. He has even dabbled in music by creating his own music videos.
The majority of his work combines contemporary black culture with canonical art. He also draws heavily from pop art. The results are always captivating and though provoking pieces that have captured the attention of the art world’s upper echelons. He has been awarded numerous honors and has been an artist in residence everywhere from Charlotte, North Carolina to Seattle, Washington.
Rashaad interest in coats of arms is by no means some random fascination. He has always had a interest in heraldry since doing an art residency in Paris. During this time he immersed himself in the history and culture of heraldry even visiting the Royal College of Arms in London. Rashaad believes that hip-hop culture and heraldry share many of the same qualities. Both involve showing off one's social and economic status. The central notion to both is the idea of prestige.
Now that you've learned more about Rashaad Newsome be on the lookout for his work.