Christopher Newman is a self-taught visual artist working under the moniker Sadboymommyissues. Born and raised in Queens, New York Newman relocated to Detroit with an aspiration for a fresh start after multiple stints in rehab and institutions throughout his late teens and early twenties due to years of debilitating depression and substance abuse. A burgeoning therapeutic process started shortly after leaving his second rehab stay after a girlfriend gifted him his first sketchbook. Having lost all sense of his identity and hope from years of addiction, he struggled to imagine any post-college future plans. One year later and sober, he freely drew his personal struggles and feelings that he discovered during his rehabilitation. In 2016, disillusioned with his studied major of International Relations post-graduation, six months of sobriety and hesitant in his ability to stay sober in Queens, he packed his car and moved to Detroit.
With his savings and a newfound hope in the possibilities of a new city, he began to develop his therapeutic doodles into traditional forms of art. His primary mediums are illustration and printmaking with a focus on screen-printing and letterpress. His doodles evolve from small vignettes of lived experiences to the overwhelmingly dark and painful critiques of our modern culture in relation to the modern man, shame and experiences with mental illness. Chris's works are blackly comedic pictures of both society's hypocrisy, as well as of his own disturbed psyche. He does not shy away from his own flaws but instead expresses his most disgusting, self-obsessed, debased thoughts outwardly in an effort to identify with others that feel the same way as a rejection of the shame and self-doubt that plagues us all.
The root of my work is to present society with a realistic portrayal of the emotional and mental states of those stigmatized by society. Whether this is shown through the universal feeling of being broken-hearted, or the psychosis caused by an addicts drug use, I push these uncomfortable experiences to the forefront of people’s minds in an effort to acknowledge these realities. My artwork is not meant to push people to get help or fix their problems, my aspiration is that those in pain can identify with my art, and those who can’t, are able to empathize with it. Much of the subject matter I focus on through my work is shown through a lens of dark humor, which in turns takes pressure off of strangers need to take action and instead, allows the work try to identify and show others suffering that they are not the only ones who feel that way.