Meet the Others: Synnöve Seidman
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Synnöve Seidman was born in Toronto, Canada and currently lives in British Columbia. She had an extensive and early education in fine arts and pursued studies in art history and philosophy at the University of Toronto.
Synnöve’s work has been exhibited at galleries in Toronto and British Columbia. She has exhibited twice with the Artist Project in Toronto and The Other Art Fair in Los Angeles.
Q&A with the Artist
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
I come from a long line of Finnish artists, poets, skinny dippers, bonfire makers, horse thieves and bootleggers. I am intense and not good at small talk, I am that person at the party staring and watching everything, a visual glutton and observer. I like to ask people what breaks their heart as a causal conversation starter! My grandfather was an artist and I was allowed to paint the walls alongside him as a small child. I attended an arts high school where I studied and copied the old masters. There I learned oil painting and academic figure drawing and I loved it! At graduation my mentor told me that I would never be an artist, and I believed her. I followed her advice and studied philosophy and art history in university. I went on to work in Advertising. Years later I tentatively picked up a paintbrush again. As my heart ached to paint.
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
The themes I explore in my work are identity, transience, the passage of time and beautiful ideas. The sublime wonder and mystery of being here never leaves me. I explore this wonder through colour and abstract expressions of landscapes, flora and fauna and the human form.
How did you first get interested in your medium and what draws you to it specifically?
When I returned to painting I had confront my fear of not being a real artist, in order to do this I had to forgive the teacher who told me I would never be a real artist. I also had to forgive myself for listening to her. I realized I needed to start fresh and that I must break all the rules that I had been taught. I bought myself acrylic paints in all the beautiful colours I wanted and watercolour too. Then I messed around and taught myself how to use them . I chose these mediums because I had never been taught how to use them and it was exhilarating and freeing.
How has your style and practice changed over the years?
My style has changed from being realistic and in the style of the old masters to abstract and intuitive. My colour palette has changed form being neutral to vibrant. I had to explore and practice a lot. I made lots of work that looked pretty horrible and not exactly what I wanted in order to rediscover my own voice. I learned to embrace my longing for beauty and femininity and not denigrate it as not serious or worthy enough. I truly believe that beauty heals.
Can you walk us through your process? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it’s finished?
It all starts with sketchbooks and paper studies, I work out colour palettes, ideas and compositions that way. I often have a few pieces on the go. I found that I was cutting up elements from works on paper to help me solve compositions and I fell in love with collage. Now my work involves laying down translucent pools of colour, letting them dry. Experimenting with additives to acrylics to alter the transparency and viscosity of acrylic I discovered my process for making acrylic skins. I use them layered in my collage pieces as well.
Every single element in my collages are made by me, so I also have all kinds of paper and vellum in different textures and transparency that I draw and paint on to later cut out. I make many puzzle pieces and try to fit them together afterword. Some pieces fit, some don’t and others don’t have to be complete. My work has developed from just paint to adding all these other elements. Layers of colour, acrylic skins with pigments that sometimes glitter, recognizable leaves and flowers and faces all floating in layers of resin. Resin is another beast entirely that I have learned to work with. Pouring the resin, then using my blow torch to eliminate bubbles. Letting it dry while plucking out fluff with tweezers. Once dry I will lightly sand the surface before I add more elements, then I pour another layer of resin. Usually 3 pours or layers at least. All in all it is hard to say exactly how long an individual piece takes.
What series or project are you working on next?
I want to make a series of lush botanical collages brimming with detail and hidden surprises in the layers.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
Show up, do the work, find your people.
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