Artist’s newfound love for decorating champagne glasses


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  • Saturday, 10 Jan 2015

Flower power: Newman putting final touches on a giant orchid symbolising the spiritual circulation of the qi of innocence, beauty and purity embodied by Jimmy Choo shoes at Jimmy Choo Couture in London.

UK-BASED interior designer and muralist Annie Newman has a new obsession — decorating champagne glasses to make them look more glamorous and interesting. Her new creations are almost like “chandeliers” and she takes great pride in decorating them.

“It was one of those moments when I wanted to try something exciting on a champagne glass. It is actually an expression of my personal style. You can even etch names onto the glasses,” said the law graduate, who switched to interior design (ID).

Newman has been intrigued by art since the age of 15 while studying at the Stella Maris Convent in the United Kingdom.

“I used to do my painting on a 2m boat during the holidays and found the experience very liberating. From then on, I was hooked on art and painting,” said the Kuching-born artist.

But her fascination for decorating glasses started last year. What began as an experiment has now become a favourite pastime for friends and those who want to commission her work.

“I thought it was a brave effort to decorate champagne glasses. It was only after I got good reviews from friends that I was inspired to do more,” said Newman, who was in town recently to visit some friends here.

The ID expert is now hooked on trying to glamourise any gorgeous-looking glass.

“My favourites are the ones with the long flutes and delicate stems, which can be filled with stunning crystals and semi-precious stones. It just makes the glasses so much prettier and glittery. You can get these decorated glasses for weddings or birthday gifts,” said Newman.

For Newman, it’s all a matter of creativity.

“There are many ways of doing it. You can sprinkle a heavy dose of glitter or decorate it with designs such as butterflies, flowers, pearls or Swarovski crystals, or other designs. After the tedious process of decorating it, I just love the way the glasses turn out. It’s really inspiring when my friends started putting in orders,” said the designer who formed Annie Newman Limited Edition Designs.

Her team has vast experience in interiors, paint-effect techniques and murals, and has done work for private clients in London and the Middle East.

Newman said she would love to give hands-on tutorials to talented Malaysian designers keen on learning the art.

“It would be interesting to work with them and tap their full potential. You never know what will come out of it,” said Newman, who also does wall paintings, furniture makeovers and other interior designs.

In fact, she has established herself as a mural artist for the last 15 years and was given brilliant referrals by well-known celebrities and personalities such as David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp (Dutch former professional footballer) and Prof Shankar Balasubramaniam from Trinity College.

Newman’s works of art have been privately commissioned for dining rooms, bathrooms, living rooms and even children’s bedrooms.

“Some people like to commission mural artists to paint their bedrooms. It can be from small walls to the entire living room or any part of the house. Once I was commissioned to turn a child’s room into a fantasy world,” said Newman, who once created a Picasso-inspired design hand-painted on a pair of Jimmy Choo Couture shoes in London.

According to Newman, a large hand-painted mural can be designed with a specific theme like personal images and elements.

“I would normally discuss with my client before deciding on the theme. More often than not, I am given a free hand on what to draw and paint because my clients don’t usually get involved in the arts,” said Newman, who regards each consignment as challenging.

For her, it all depends on the idea. If she gets a good idea, she can’t wait to start on it right away. Often, she uses freehand drawing or sketches before choosing to brush or spray the paints.

Apart from expressing her creativity, Newman regards wall paintings as strong visual effects with artistic value.

“The dramatic impact it creates would make anyone stop to look at it.

“My clients say I have a certain style, which is unique. To me, it’s just an expression of ideas that oozes out during that particular time,” said Newman, who lists Datuk Michael Tio and Datuk Jimmy Choo as her mentors.

Talented as she is, Newman said it was not easy to be a muralist.

“You must be able to visualise the final product and scale up your artistic ability. After sketching your ideas, you must know how to expand your vision. Then only comes the painting bit. Since you are the artist, you have to carry out the work all the way to the end.

“For me, the most important criteria to be a muralist is reliability and innovative ideas. If you can think outside the box, you are ahead of the rest,” she said.

Newman has started “The Art of ‘Just Me’ 2015”, a hand-painted design material with splashes of red, gold and black.

Those who would like to sample her work can check out http://www.annienewman.co.uk/

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