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Ned Barrett, a different way of expressing oneself

By Sara Stefanovic
4 min read

Art is capable of expressing what words often fail to tell. Ned Barrett is a great example of this. Artistic expression is the best way to share his world view, he does so by means of powerful colors and contrasts, and big brush strokes. We invited him to tell us his unique point of view.

Where does your passion for Art come from?

Ned Barrett: «I could say that my passion for art comes from being dyslexic, how I can’t even spell my name and the incredible difficulty I have with finding my place in this world. Creating is how I make sense of it all. I could say that my passion for art comes from enduring unimaginable grief, and how creating keeps me sane. I could say my passion comes from an unrelenting desire to be the best I can be at it, a friendly competition with myself to see how far I can take it. While those are all true, it really comes down to one. Simple. Thing. I love it. Always have. Always will». 

Ned Barrett

When did you start painting?

Ned Barrett: «I started painting at 14. I’m 49 now».

What type of materials do you use?

Ned Barrett: «For decades I’d painted oil on canvas, using just brushes and palette knives. Recently, however, I’ve been exploring oil on wood using a mix of brushes and unconventional tools, such as brooms, mops, and paper towels. I’m fascinated with moving beyond two dimensional painting and have been using screwdrivers and ice picks to dig into, or scar, the wood surface». 

Can you describe your use of colors? Is there a relationship between the colors you use and the message you want to convey?

Ned Barrett: «I often start painting envisioning two colors that would have a powerful relationship with each other. From there, possbile color harmonies that feed off those two colors emerge. It’s a very inuitive process for me. Once I have those two initial colors, I just go on auto pilot and feel my way through the addition of other colors».

Ned Barrett

What kind of message do you want to convey by means of your art?

Ned Barrett: «I never try to limit my art to the umbrella of a specific theme, such as environmental, or political, or satire, etc. The message of a painting is born from whatever is going through my head during the process of creating it. I never know the message until it lets itself known to me during the process».  

Are social media useful for your work as an artist? 

Ned Barrett: «For generations galleries were the gate keepers who decided who was going to have a career or not. Social media has changed all that. You can do it all on your own and because of that, I wholeheartedly embrace it and find immense value in it. It gives people the power to create their own future on their own terms. It’s priceless». 

What inspires you?

Ned Barrett: «I feel like artists are just conduits to the infinite, timeless, and boundless nature of the universe.

I’m inspired by the journey through something so much larger than I can possibly imagine». 

What kind of music do you listen to while working? 

Ned Barrett: «I’m a professional guitarist. I’ve been playing just as long as I’ve been painting. I’ve dedicated my life to it. I ended up playing with my music heroes and had to walk away, because my wife died right after we got married (the unimaginable pain and suffering I mentioned before). Needless to say, music is everything to me… But I can’t paint while listening to music. Nope. It distracts me. It interferes with my intuition and flow, because I start focusing on the instrumentation, chord progressions or vocal melodies. When I paint, there’s nothing I want more than silence.

Silence gives my mind the freedom to roam».

How is your relationship with your audience? 

Ned Barrett: «I hope it’s good?! Ha. I don’t know, if I can affect just one person with my art, whether it be positively or negatively, I know I’ve done something right». 

How would you describe your art in three words?

Ned Barrett: «Rhythmic, passionate, subconscious».

Can you give me a brief description of these works of yours?

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel
A plane of the next existence
What will happen if we don’t take care of the planet?
Doing what she wants, instead of what society expects of her
Finding rhythm and playfulness in the journey towards making a dream come true
Dealing with myriad thoughts swimming through my head
Defiant to a world in turmoil

4 min read

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