For the launch of our interview series we caught up with Sydney The Artist, who is an amazing and talented artist out of Australia. She is highly influenced by Hip-Hop culture and lifestyle and is an artist in her own right. She just joined the Jamla Family, which for those of you who don’t know, is Producer 9th Wonder’s Record Label.
We are also glad that she is a part of our team as well! She is very consistent in her artwork; from her sketches of people that inspire her to her signature sneaker art, Nicolette has exactly what it takes to take the urban art & culture industry by storm. Not to mention she is easy on the eyes! If you’re ever have time go check her out at the links we will provide to you below, so hit the jump for the Q+A.
CH: Here Hails the great Sydney The Artist! Can you introduce yourself quickly?
STA: Yo, I’m Sydney, I’m an artist I love hip hop, urban culture, & fashion. I am currently in Australia trying to find my place in the hip-hop urban scene but also focusing more In the U.S.
CH: When did you start getting interested in Hip-Hop culture and Art?
STA: Art at about 3 years old, my mom is a set decorator and collects art and is super artistic so I was highly influenced by art at a young age. Hip-Hop music probably around 11, Hip hop music isn’t really well wasn’t really played on the radio back then in Australia. Due to the culture based in the United States mostly, But my mother is very into world art & music, she played a lot of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gill Scott Heron, when I was young and I really loved jazz from always hearing her play it. A lot of blues as well like Stevie Wonder, James Brown & Prince. She started to play a little bit of Arrested Development and D’angelo and Tribe Called Quest, and when I heard that I just loved it I remember getting on Napster and downloading Tribe and Pharycyde and then I got into Tupac and the whole culture just started to suck me in.
CH: Where does the name “Sydney The Artist” comes from & what is your real name for those who don’t know? No need to include your last name, we don’t want any stalkers!
STA: Haha, My real name is Nicolette, Sydney the artist, well Sydney comes from a move I made in Australia from the big city of Sydney to a smaller town on the other side of the country called Cairns, due to the way I acted and by my accent, they all called me Sydney. I liked the nickname it showed my style and where my history is so I started to use it as my art name kind of like my alter ego. My brand was originally called “Sydney’s Sneaker Art”, and I mainly did sneaker art but due to the fact that it broadens my abilities as an artist and in content I changed to Sydney The Artist so I could take on more projects involving various forms of art.
CH: Who do you credit for influencing your interest and creativity in art?
STA: I possibly answered that before. But definitely my mum, growing up in a creative family that fully supports creative expression. I grew up on an island called Scotland island on the Pitt-water, which was definitely an alternative place a lot of artists and hippies. I think that kind of made feel at home with my creative side. I also was not the brightest at school but I was always one of the best drawers so I think I liked having something I was good at and proud of. I remember drawing the popular girls to try and be cool lol.
CH: Being from Australia, how does it feel to get compliments from other artists in different countries on your artwork?
STA: I get the biggest grin on my face, It’s so awesome but frustrating that I know people respect me and like my artwork from people in the industry, hip hop artists and more. But I’m on the other side of the world like I want to be experiencing hip hop everyday and here are people in the game showing love and I’m literally worlds away. I feel like I am missing out on opportunities, but unfortunately America’s education system is so expensive that I know I need to stay in Australia to educate myself affordably and be the best that I can be so when I do move over, there is no chance of me not achieving my dreams. I really appreciate people showing love and going out of their way to show me they like my stuff because it’s those people that keep pushing me to work harder and get to the USA so I can work with the culture I love. Most people were struggling once and on the come-up, and people who have made it need to remember they were there one day, and one “like” “comment” “tweet” can push someone to be where they need to be mentally. Or just make there day lol I made respect for the artists who show love to there fans, cause that’s all I am a fan who does art.
CH: What got you into the sneaker art and why?
STA: Sneaker art, started off because I wanted to paint hip hop or something symbolizing hip hop. I had just got a job at footlocker at the time and my sneaker game started getting crazy, I realized the big culture with hip hop and sneakers and, I was studying at the time and thought this would be a dope concept to work with. So I started painting the kicks I bought at work and just had good feedback, I stuck with it and just kept painting them and got people wanting to work with me because its not really something people do in Australia. But as you grow as person you need to step away from something to improve your practice so that’s where I am at currently.
CH: You’re clearly also influenced by American culture, What are your favorite brands/designers?
STA: Yes, very influenced, I love retro and animal print stuff and many colors. I am not a brand junkie at all, I will wear a $5 top and a $400 pair of jeans, I don’t think it matters if you’re wearing Gucci or Target, just know how to rock it. When I was in the states I liked American Apparel there a reasonable price and they have this 80’s retro style and there prints are so dope. I wear a bit of sportswear like Adidas Puma & Nike. I love the designers Jeremy Scott, Jeffrey Campbell, Alexander McQueen, and I love Christian Louboutin heels. I love vintage shopping, and I make some of my own clothes with my moms help.
CH: Where can we find you on a day off with nothing to do?
STA: I’ll start my day off with a fresh coffee from a coffee shop, I will always go try and stay with my sister for the night and see my nephew, generally that’s what I will do with the day off is family time, or I will do NOTHING sit and just chill watch TV series, Play PS3. If I have nothing to do, (which doesn’t happen often) I always have something I should be doing, Updating and editing my website, Jamla related stuff, Networking, Painting, Studying, Researching new music and more.
CH: We see you’re an attractive blonde-haired Aussie, who wears sneakers & has a Tupac tattoo. What made you get it and what does Style mean to you?
STA: Haha thanks, my hair is strawberry blonde and I’m a red head and proud of it. To all those red heads who were teased in school, be proud of your hair! My Tupac tattoo has a personal meaning, I struggled in high school and primary school a bit, it was hard for me to fit in being a pale, red head who loved rap and urban culture. I grew up in a place similar to Orange County California, where every girl had money, tanned skin, blonde hair and surfed. Then there was me wearing sneakers and listening to my CD Player. Strangely, I was in the group with the prettiest girls and all that, but I was completely different. I don’t even know how it happened, but there I was in the “cool” crowd and I got picked on for being this hip hop head. Everyone called me a fake and used to laugh and be like she loves Tupac, wait till she’s older she won’t be into that. I’m 23 and I have never loved hip hop more, I loved Tupac so much when I was going through my teenage years and going through a lot of other things besides school that was hard and his music really got me through it all. Tupac to me now is a symbol of who I was and how far I’ve come and that I was a hip-hop head at 13 even though no one thought it was “cool” and I still am and I will be for life. That shit is on my arm and he will be forever, RIP Tupac, Extremely talented musician, poet, actor and role model.
CH: Any Upcoming projects that we should know about?
STA: Not too much stuff, Doing some logos, twitter backgrounds, currently working on this 3 piece artwork showcasing the three most influential artists so far in my life, with Tupac, a Tribe Called Quest and 9th Wonder. I am at university super busy finding it hard to juggle the whole having “100 jobs” thing, but I am about to move to the big city of Melbourne to work toward a diploma in Graphic Design, so I can do more album cover type stuff with my art and broaden my horizons. I Just got this Jamla job so that will hopefully open up a few opportunities for me, I have stuff popping up each week so I am going with flow and just making sure I network and keep sharing my stuff and try get more projects coming my way.
CH: Who would you say are your Top 5 artists, current and past?
A Tribe Called Quest
Choosing five is so hard!
CH: And Your Top 5 albums? Current and past!
D’ Angelo – Voodoo
Dr Dre – Chronic 2001
The Roots – Game Theory
Rapsody – For Everything
Little Brother – The Minstrel Show