RSC Industry Intelligence: Daniel Newman of QuakerNinja

The apparel industry is one of many moving parts. For every high-profile designer there are thousands of photographers, marketing professionals and independent designers who quietly do their part to keep our community vibrant and relevant.  These individuals deserve their recognition. In an effort to ensure that, RSC’s Industry Intelligence make sure you hear from these unsung heroes who keep it real each and every day.

Name, rank and why we should care?
Quaker Joel Ninja but you can call me Newman. Being your own boss means being your only employee, so as far as rank goes, I handle all of it as best I can. It’s a bit of a misnomer that freelancers like myself go it alone.

Why should you care? When you choose to support an independent brand all of that support is going directly where you want it to. I can’t do it without friends like you guys and my fans.

I am old enough to remember a world before the internet. It’s opened up a lot opportunity for all of us and I would encourage anyone with the passion for it to go for it [and start your own business.] The game has changed and you don’t need an institution to be successful anymore. Everyone who wants it bad enough can be a winner.

What are you working on right now?
I am currently going back to my fine art roots and working on some large-scale drawings. I am on eight of a series of ten civil war portraits with a twist. Each is 32X40 inches on matte boards.

This is my first time working at this scale and so far it’s going well. Having dual experience in both traditional and digital art has really improved my confidence and work flow.

I have a neat little gadget called the cinemin swivel that has recently become my new favorite tool. It’s a pico projector – I just do my sketches small-scale, scan them in, add them to my iPod, shine them on my studio wall and go to town.  I hope to find a gallery for the series soon. I will be entering two of them into a local community art show in July.

I’ve never had a show before and to be honest I am finding the whole prospect a little terrifying. Wish me luck.

What future plans are in the works? Plug your shit!
I have plans to resurrect my personal brand and print some new items as funding becomes available. I also continue to work with the folks at Art House co-op making sketchbooks for the Brooklyn Art Library. The 2012 tour will be coming to my neighborhood next year so I’m looking forward to that opportunity.

I can’t think of anything I would rather do with my time then draw stuff all day. Each day has the potential to be a new win, but sometimes it’s hard to get off the bench.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?
Its’ a long list. The negative influence is my own fear. I tend to over think things a lot and worry about potential problems as much as actual problems. It’s a real productivity killer and I need to struggle to overcome that and maintain confidence in my own abilities. I think it’s pretty common with artists.

The most positive influence has been access to other working artists – I love the community support, making new friends and sharing our successes and failures.

What is the hardest lesson you have ever had to learn?
The hardest lesson I am still learning is that I am special, but not that special.

I have to really make sure to remind myself that not all of my success is the result of my own efforts. I owe a large debt of gratitude to my fans and art friends who keep me from growing a Hindenburg sized ego.As history reminds us, that didn’t end well.

The cure to failure is success. The enemy of success is self-doubt and silly melancholy shenanigans. We all get those feelings – it’s ok. Just don’t let it stop you from being awesome even when you don’t feel like it. Shake it off like a drying dog and get some work done.

Last book read, movie watched, record listened to?

I am currently reading the “Pricing and Ethical Guidelines.” It’s very thrilling and I have a suspicion the butler did it.

For movies, I really like cartoons. It’s nice to see some of the smaller studios get some attention. “Hoodwinked 2” from Kanbar Entertainment and of course, “Coraline” from Portland’s own LAIKA House.

I will probably get rocks thrown at me for admitting I like Aqua, but I do.

Fill in the blank: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without _____”

I wouldn’t be where I am today without each and every last one of you. Thank you.

I’d like to give a shout-out to my good friend, Lori Kirk from Cavata Clothing. Also, check out my Facebook fan page!

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