We had the good fortune of connecting with Dylan Newton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dylan, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I love talking about this subject! I’ve met many artists from different backgrounds with their internal sense of balance between work life and how much they are willing to exploit their craft for business.
While studying in college, I worked part-time for Guitar Center as a sales associate and simultaneously worked as a cyberpunk portrait photographer. Though I made some extra money from the photography side gig, I felt burned out from creating. I felt like my art was packaged and sold as a streamlined product or experience with little room to experiment and innovate. I did not enjoy the photos I was delivering to clients. After college, I slowly began rejecting photography jobs and focusing that time on crafting my process to create art. Eventually, I got a job at a marketing firm in Austin, where I could breathe a sigh of relief, knowing I wouldn’t have to rely on my art to make any money to survive. Ironically, where many artists find freedom in making money from photography, I found it freeing to let my marketing job fund my means to survive and my passions. This change even allowed me to allot more time for photography. Some photographers would rather die than work in an office, but I feel most free to create when I have no responsibilities tied to how I create my art.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a portrait photographer who specializes in Cyberpunk, editorial fashion, and film photography. A crucial aspect of my creative process is building wearable mask accessories and props that transform into artistic sculptures. I scavenge for wiring, scraps of metal, and plastic toy parts, strategically mounting them onto a respirator mask to create wearable pieces of art that appear futuristic. I capture my subjects wearing these masks on the neon-lit streets of bustling downtown cities, aiming to make my images appear as if they were taken in a dark dystopian cyberpunk metropolis. The process is a labor of love and never gets any easier. In addition to building props, sourcing futuristic clothing, and scouting suitable locations, I also spend countless hours editing photos to ensure they look like they were captured in the year 2077. I knew that to start photographing in this style, my images needed to appear convincing. I wanted viewers to question what was real and what wasn’t in my photos, as this encapsulates the spirit of Cyberpunk. My goal is to showcase my artwork regularly in galleries, demonstrating that cyberpunk portrait photography has a place in fine art. I hope that my art will inspire people to ponder the meaning of humanity, whether it matters, and where society is heading. Ultimately, I want viewers to ask if our future will look as glamorously dystopian as my photos suggest.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Welcome to Austin, Texas! There’s so much to see and do here that it’s hard to fit it all into one week, but I’ll give it my best shot. Here’s an itinerary for a week-long trip that will show you a damn good time!
-Start with breakfast at the Driskoll Hotel for some amazing chicken and waffles.
-Chill out in Zilker Park and a nice cold beverage.
-For lunch, head to Franklin Barbecue for some of the best BBQ in town.
-In the afternoon, explore the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail or rent a kayak to see the city skyline from the water.
-End the day at the famous music venue, Antone’s, for some live music and drinks.
-Skip breakfast because you might already be a bit hungover from the drinking culture.
-For lunch, check out the food trucks at the South Congress Avenue area.
-After lunch, shop at the boutiques and vintage stores along SoCo.
-End the day with some hard cider and games at the barcade, Cidercade
-Start with breakfast at the iconic Magnolia Cafe.
-Visit the Texas Hill Country for some wine tasting and scenic views.
-For lunch, check out The Salt Lick BBQ for some more delicious BBQ.
-Spend some time by the water in Lost Creek
-End the day with a drive-in movie at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In.
-Start with breakfast at Torchy’s Tacos, they may be gentrified tacos but they are still damn good.
– Visit West Chelsea Contemporary to see its extensive collection of local street art.
-For lunch, head to Ramen Tatsu-ya for some amazing ramen.
-In the afternoon, explore the funky and eclectic East Austin neighborhood.
-End the day with some live music at the Continental Club, one of Austin’s most iconic music venues.
– Start with breakfast at Bouldin Creek Cafe, a vegetarian and vegan-friendly spot.
-Visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens to explore the rich history of this exquisite garden primarily built by one man.
-For lunch, check out the food trucks at the Barton Springs Picnic Park.
– After lunch, take a dip in the iconic Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed pool.
-End the day with some craft beers at Pinthouse Pizza and Brewery.
-Start with breakfast at Paperboy, a food truck serving up some delicious breakfast sandwiches.
-Visit Waterloo Records or Antone’s for record shopping.
-For lunch, head to Loro for some awesome Korean BBQ fusion.
-Hit the green belt to soak in the cool flowing waters.
-End the day with some more live music at the iconic Stubb’s BBQ.
-Start with breakfast at Launderette, a charming spot with a menu inspired by global flavors.
-Visit Austin’s downtown sector.
-For lunch, head to Super Thai for more incredible Thai food.
-After lunch, check out the shopping and dining scene in the trendy South First Street neighborhood.
-End the trip with a farewell dinner at Uchi, one of Austin’s most famous and highly-regarded sushi restaurants.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow! There are so many people in my life who embody the characteristics of a great mentor and encourager.
My parents have been my rock and biggest supporters throughout my life. They have always encouraged me to pursue my interests, even if it wasn’t the “safe” option. My parents were always by my side, whether I was pursuing photography, archery, or playing music, and they simply loved spending time with me. They not only encouraged me in my passions but also took on the responsibility of shaping me into the person I am today, for which I am forever grateful. Their efforts make me aspire to be a better person and hopefully, one day, a great father.
Hannah Brower is a wonderful friend who has actively helped me improve my style and broadened my perspective on the beauty of fashion. Without her, my artistic style would be completely different. I am extremely grateful to have her as one of my most treasured friends.
Emily Swift rekindled and challenged my love for film photography, and I am grateful to her for that. Before getting to know her, I merely enjoyed film photography. However, after experiencing her sheer passion for film and its process, I began to understand the true depth of this medium. I often seek her advice on shooting specific film stocks and even send bags of film to her for development and scanning. She is someone I can trust wholeheartedly when it comes to film.
Tashie is an invaluable figure in my life who played a pivotal role in my artistic development. As my first mentor, she guided me through the intricate process of printing and submitting my artwork to galleries, a step I might have missed without her invaluable teaching. I am grateful to have such skillful and wonderful friends like her in my life.
Hannah Brower, Bianca Nguyen, Dillion Lalor, Zenful, Ari, Hailey, Colby Hinton, Kristen Gould