“Sometimes words are not capable of capturing the full depth of a feeling or idea and that is why people need art. Everyone should find their own form of art. Art is a healing act, a catharsis that allows people to express the inexpressible, the hidden, the depths of themselves.” -Derek Newman-Stille

Derek Newman-Stille has a Masters Degree in Anthropology from Trent University. His Masters Degree involved an analysis of ancient Minoan and Mycenaean Art and his interest in the archaeology of ancient societies has had a great deal of impact on his own artistic trends. Many of Derek’s paintings are heavily influenced by the artistic trends of the ancient world and one can see in his art imagery revolving around Palaeolithic goddesses or cave paintings from the past. As a classicist, Derek is particularly influenced by the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, deriving a lot of the themes of his artistic works from classical myth. His interest in anthropology and archaeology has influenced his work, showing an overall love of the rich depth of diversity in the human experience and the wide range of methods people have used to express themselves over the course of human history.

From an early age Derek was interested in the artistic styles of the Group of Seven, fascinated by both the creative style and the philosophical ideologies behind the works of Lauren Harris in particular. Harris’ concept of trying to capture something beyond the physical appearance of nature, its soul, influenced Derek to move away from realism to try to capture the feelings evoked by the experience of observing nature, its internal perspective. This interest in the imaginative led Derek to move more and more toward expressive forms of art and the need to create dreamscapes of form and image to express his own emotional experience. Like the Group of Seven, Derek desires to paint what lies beyond the surface image of his subjects: the emotional and spiritual dimension. With his art, Derek tries to capture what is beyond, behind, through his subjects.

Derek's art shows a distinctly Canadian flavour both from the influence of the Group of Seven, but also through the distinctly Canadian interest in diversity. As a culture that prides itself on the idea of the 'cultural mosaic', Canadian culture has influenced Derek's desire to paint from a diversity of styles and influences, creating a patchwork quilt of international and intranational artistic accents. His work is intranational because he recognises that even before European settlement, Canada was made of a vast network of diverse and distinct peoples and through the process of European settlement, a diversity of cultural influences have been added to our landscape. His work therefore borrows from the fluidity and sculpted shape that was characteristic of the Group of Seven's painting style, but also highlights the spiritualism in nature characteristic of the works of Anishnabee, Haida, and Metis peoples. His work also incorporates elements of art nouveau, art deco, Celtic, Minoan, and Norse styles of expression. Derek's art shows the natural Canadian receptivity toward inclusivity and his work shows an unorthodox blend of styles, varying in artistic technique depending on the feeling or idea he wishes to express or the emotional dimension he wants to evoke from the viewer. He feels that limiting oneself to one dominant style has a negative impact on expression and prevents the artist from exploring the depth and complexity of his subject.

In his youth, Derek was told that he had a fine motor learning disability and that this would prevent him from developing fine motor skills and thus not allow him to do fine art or any form of highly skilled artistic work. Derek’s love of art, need to express, and belief in the importance of art pushed him to continue to develop his style and engage with various creative fora.