The Power Of Projections With Rupert Newman

Visual artist Rupert Newman shares his spectacular projection mapping displays with Toast.Life

Forget fireworks – when darkness falls, 2018 is all about the power of projections. Toast.Life chats to visual artist Rupert Newman to hear how he creates his show stopping visuals with his spectacular projection mapping, and what they can add to an event.

When planning any event, every host strives to create some kind of wow factor moment that guests will remember long after the party has ended, and in today’s digital age the possibilities are endless. Dubbed ‘The King of Projections’ in none other than Vogue’s Secret Address Book, British-born artist Rupert Newman specialises in transforming spaces into visual spectacles that will leave your guests completely in awe. 


Showreel 2017 from Rupert Newman on Vimeo.

Pink Floyd were pioneering the visual experience in their concerts in the 70’s. They aimed to immerse their audience with sound and light as I do” he explains.

“Technology has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade and I’ve been fortunate enough to have understood and developed my own techniques with software programs. I am able to use the software as a creative tool to express myself, under any given brief, and in turn enhance an event in a completely unique and original way - with sound and light.”

From unforgettable wedding shows and impressive private parties to mind boggling PR stunts, Rupert’s shows are renowned as unique and unforgettable experiences, providing a personal, and entirely unexpected dimension to any event. His colourful, tailor-made projections are often synchronised with music and bring events to life instantly; he describes his style as ‘a harmonious balance of colour, form and movement, original, geometric, mesmerising, ever-changing, kaleidoscopic and psychedelic’ and as well as numerous prestigious parties, Rupert’s artwork has also been the subject of several high-profile exhibitions.  

4 Seasons Florence Rupert Newman

(Four Seasons Florence by Rupert Newman)

“Projection mapping is a method of instructing projected light to fit within the co-ordinates of an object or architecture. This light is then used to add extra dimensions, optical illusions, and notions of movement onto previously static objects or buildings, completely transforming their appearance. Artists are then able to turn the surface into a completely unique and before unseen surface for projection” he explains. 

“A light show involves synchronising original animated visuals to around 10 minutes of music, before projecting and ‘mapping’ it onto a building facade, in front of an audience.”

Vaux Le Vicomte Rupert Newman

(Chateau De Vaux-le-Vicomte by Rupert Newman)

Rupert’s design background lies in printed textiles, which he studied at university. He developed designs in his sketchbooks with pencil and paint before manipulating them on the computer so that they were suitable for printing onto fabric in repeat, so in essence he has always been drawn to covering surfaces in bold pattern.  

“It was during my masters at The Royal College of Art that I was asked to push innovation, so I invested in a projector which allowed me to project my designs and map them onto different shapes within the fabric wall hangings” he explains.  

“It was at my end of year exhibition where I exhibited my first projection piece with music. A lady there pushed her screaming baby in front of it and the baby immediately stopped crying. This was a pivotal moment for me - it proved that my work was therapeutic.”

Clare College Cambridge

(Clare College, Cambridge) 

From the stunning Villa Cetinale in Tuscany and Chateau Vaux le Vicomte  just outside Paris, to the Oxbridge college balls and historic Balcarres House in Fife, Rupert has been responsible for projecting stunning visuals on to the facades of some of the most beautiful and historic homes and buildings in the world. For each project, he collaborates with the client to ensure that the themes and imagery closely relate to them, before meticulously synchronising the visuals with music and the building's dimensions for an incredible and unforgettable explosion of sound and light. 

“The first thing I do is visit the site and study the facade - there are many interesting features of a facade that you might not see at a glance, and I use this to my advantage. Often there is a theme, and sometimes photos and videos to incorporate, and I ask the client to pick some music to synchronise the visuals to” he explains.

“Clients always approve the design content of the show via private video link before it is projected, but once it’s up there beaming onto the facade, it always looks a million times better!”

The Guildhall London By Robert Newman

Elmore Court

(The Guildhall, London, and Elmore Court  by Rupert Newman)

Rupert’s shows usually come in somewhere between 5 and 12 minutes and tend to be accompanied by around two tracks of music chosen by the client, adding to the complete feeling of personalisation and immersion. Every element is completely pre-programmed and fast paced, ensuring that the audience is kept ‘hyper stimulated’ and thoroughly engage, not to mention entertained. Client’s photos and videos can be added to the mix, perfectly choreographed to the music, and refreshed shows can be repeated throughout the night if required.

“When I work with a live DJ or musician I operate the visuals live, adapting the projected designs as show progresses. There’s a lot of improvisation involved. Music is completely layered - you have the bass, drums, vocals. I like to deliver my visuals in the same way, using three to four layers” Rupert explains.

“My shows are often highly personal and emotive. Clients are always looking for a wow factor when they come to me - they want their event to stand out. Clients like a unique happening for a brief period after the end of the dinner and speeches, and the beginning of the dancing. The wow factor provides guests with a new subject of conversation, and a means to mix with others.” 

As well as stylish weddings and extravagant birthday parties, Rupert also works with brands such as Bombay SapphireYahoo, Pinewood, Dom Perignon, Warner Music, Hix Restaurants and more, to push innovation and create something completely unique.

Bombay Sapphire Rupert Newman

(Projection Mapping for Bombay Sapphire by Rupert Newman)

“The 48ft Olympic ski jump in Cortina was particularly challenging” he explains.

“I had to create a 3D model and use 6 projectors to cover the entire jump. The alignment of multiple projectors is particularly time consuming, even before the mapping alignment process has begun!”

Rupert is undeniably the go-to when it comes to versatile, wow factor projection power, and is one of the most sought after visual artists in the country - I ask him what it takes to create and maintain such a fantastic reputation.

“Always exceed expectations" he says.

“Projection mapping requires both the creative vision and technical ability. Technology can be used as a wonderful tool to enhance an artist’s vision, but ultimately it's the artists original work and individual voice that has to come first.”

Kimberley Rupert Newman

Rupert Newman Light Displays

(One Mayfair and Villa Centinale by Rupert Newman)

When it comes to his individual voice, Rupert turns to the artists and art movements of the 20th Century for visual inspiration; he tells me that the colour studies of Robert and Sonia Delaunay have provided huge inspiration, as well as the fractured light lines of the Russian Rayonists (c. 1920s) who painted light rays reflected from objects, rather than the objects themselves.

“I also love the crystalline painted shapes of Lyonel Feininger, and the more minimal compositions of the Russian Constructivists. I try to achieve rhythm and movement in my light shows by juxtaposing complementary colours and overlapping crystalline shapes in a logical, balanced composition” he explains.

“I am also inspired by sound itself and I try to listen to as much live music as possible, from jazz to techno.”

The summer party season may well be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t result in any down time for Rupert; instead he is busy preparing for a collection of private shows in the run up to Christmas, and has recently collaborated with photographer Philip Volkers to bring one of his photos his to life with light, and the plan is to take it to Hong Kong in December. If that wasn’t enough, Rupert is planning ahead for next year with a number of events already confirmed at exclusive locations around the UK and Europe.

“I will also be illuminating Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild for the fourth time this year. It’s my favourite canvas and I know it well, which means that I am able to take the design content to the next level. It is a dream come true” he explains.

“I enjoy the process of creating completely new ideas for the world to experience. I enjoy finding problems that I am excited to solve, from the moment I see the building facade for the first time, to the moment of execution, it’s a very exciting process. I feel good when I add value to people’s lives - and usually leave people in a happier state.”

Villa Rothschild

(Villa-ephrussi By Rupert Newman)

Rupert Newman’s Top Tips For Projection Mapping

  • There are 2 components that you need - a building facade and space in front of it to position the projectors and space for the audience to stand. I leave minimum footprint - it’s just me and a projector

  • You need a building facade with minimum foliage

  • All the blinds / curtains within the house should be closed

  • There mustn’t be any trees in front of the building

  • Think about whether you’d like photos incorporated and if so, how many

  • The show can be split into 3 songs, so consider what music you might like

  • If you’re having a marquee make sure it has a clear side if it is in view of the house

If you’d like to work with Rupert Newman to create some stunning projections for your next event, then you can visit his page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book for more information and contact details.

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