A multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, Sydney Kleinrock, focuses on painting, textile art and illustration. She graduated with a BFA from Hampshire College, studying visual arts and sustainability, and gained an Associates Degree at Fashion Institute of Technology. Through her work she explores themes of queerness, sustainability, clothing and the body.
What is your earliest memory with art and how does your upbringing influence your work today?
My earliest memories with art started with a lot of characters of make-believe people. I loved designing clothing and had folders of drawings of girls wearing different outfits. I think my work today is partially a response in rebellion to my upbringing. Maybe not in the most obvious sense. I grew up around a pretty specific subculture of people that puts an emphasis on material gain and has a narrow set of ideas that deemed you a worthy member of society. A lot of my work explores themes of materiality, accumulation, as well as identity.
Can you give us a walk through of your creative process?
Lately, a lot of my process begins with the discards leftover from a previous project. I feel more comfortable and less intimidated using supplies that were either found or passed on to me. I hate wasting material with art, so a lot of my paintings come out of the leftover palette paint from a previous painting. Sometimes I embroider into the canvas if the painting seems to call for it! A lot of the imagery in my work comes from memories or photos taken with my phone.
What story or message do you aim to share in your works?
This question is hard for me to answer, mainly because each work really has its own message for me! I think overall, right now my work seems to be focusing on issues and ideas I am grappling with and think are important, and the stories are told through a lens of self reflection. Some of the messaging in my work can be more straightforward, like addressing the issue of climate change through portraits of personal consumption, and other works that are more related to identity are up for the viewer to decide the messaging that suits them.
How has your work evolved over time?
My interest in art has always been a pretty broad focus. I think for many years (and even still) I was eager to try out every kind of 2D medium I could, as well as work through many different styles and themes. I think trying out these different ways of making on for size has led me to a place where I feel like I am on a more directed path. I started painting focusing on figures in a very hyper-realistic way. When I got into fashion design and printmaking it allowed me to become more illustrative with my subjects. The last big project I was working on I painted clothing items without any figures onto collaged sewn fabrics. This period really sparked my interest in using fabric and textile art practices along with painting. These days I am exploring more unconventional ways of painting the figure while using textile methods to enhance the work. Thematically, my work has evolved over time to include ideas of climate change, queerness, and identity.
As a young artist, what does the future look like? What’s next?
I think there are a lot of really incredible things happening right now. We are all going through so much learning and unlearning, and reality is shifting in huge ways. I am excited for stories to be told through art from unrepresented voices that have long been undervalued.
FRONTRUNNER online forum: @sydneyhunterart