Syd Bee - In My Bones

Syd Bee’s soft, distinctive and alluring color palette sets her work apart. Her immediately unmistakable figures are shrouded in centuries of mythology and folklore yet at the same time remain utterly contemporary.

This new series offers a deeper look at the human psyche through distorted portraiture of the possessed. More specifically there is a theme running through this body of work relating to the artists’ fascination with spiritualism, the paranormal and our ability to connect with other realms.

What do you love most about the place you live? How does it influence your work?
The Pacific Northwest is my favorite place to live. I really thrive on its atmosphere. All the rainy, gloomy weather, the trees, and the mountains. It’s beautiful and mysterious and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

2.     What inspires you to make art? Can you tell us a little bit about the influences and inspirations behind this particular body of work?
I find my inspiration often when I’m overwhelmed or can’t shake an idea or feeling. "In My Bones" is about representing my fascination with spiritualism, the paranormal, and the idea that another world could be accessed, if only we had the proper faculty. Here, these figures connect with that otherworldliness. They’re possessed, haunted by these thoughts and emotions of longing, fear, and the anxiousness that can engulf a person.  

3. You work to a pretty distinctive and intense color palate. What drew you to those choices?    
Many of them begin as I'm about to fall asleep, with a feeling that seems very important at that time (maybe a sensation or my emotional state). I'll often build color collages that appeal to my mood and the feeling I want to capture. Once I've settled on a palette, I'll sketch out the figures and settings. There’s something about blending these saccharine, bubblegum candy colors with darker dream-like themes and subject matter that appeals to me. There’s always something just slightly off.

4.     What do you find the most challenging/rewarding aspects of being a professional artist to be?
It can be lonely, and sometimes I get distracted easily. I have a day job to keep the lights on and my cats fed. Fortunately I work at Bellevue Fine Art, which is a fine art reproduction studio, so I’m surrounded by a wide range of artwork all day. Seeing so much art daily helps me stay on top of things and can help push me and my art when I get home to the easel. I love those moments when you’re finishing a piece and slapping on the varnish. See it all gel together.

5.     Do you listen to/watch any form of media while working? If so, what is it and how does it influence your process?
I’ll put the same playlists and listen to them over and over. Those nighttime hours are precious, so anything I can do to reduce the sense of time helps. I've tried podcasts and audiobooks, but lately, if it's not actually raining out, I'll listen to the soundtracks of rain which has this very soothing effect.

6.    As supreme leader of the totalitarian regime which rules the Syd Bee Colony, which artist/art movement would you censor and/or exile and why?
Hmmm, not sure who or what movement I’d necessarily exile, but you can be damn sure my council of elders will consist solely of Muppets. 

7.     Conversely, whom would you commission to make your visual art propaganda?
Pfft, I can do my own propaganda! 

8.  If you had a time machine would you go backwards or forwards?
Forward is the only way to go. 

9. Extrovert or Introvert?
Introvert, for sure. 

10. Outer space or deep sea?
Outer space, no question. Have you seen viperfish and goblin sharks? Absolutely not. That is some nightmare fuel.