get your war paint on

susanna rose sykes

pssst… guess what? mmm hmm, that’s right. we’ve got the ultimately fabuloso melbourne-based illustrator/painter susanna rose sykes on the page. putting the ‘f’ back in feme, sykes has been on the scene for some years now and has a gargantuan instagram following. the art school graduate’s pieces create a juxtaposition between carnal themes and tender tones. pastel colours shape forms that deal with identity, gender and sexuality. the rounded female body dominates her works, that can sometimes be confronting or alluring. whether it be a nude binging on junk food, two women embracing to a touch of fellatio, sykes pieces are captivating.
interview with i.t.a.

check the susanna rose sykes gallery

susanna it’s such a pleasure to have you here for the new powder issue. i must say that we’ve been so taken by your artworks, which takes quite brash subject matter and presents it in a way that seems oh so delicate. thanks for taking the time to chat.

so firstly, you’ve been doing a lot of group shows and exhibitions of late. how have they been going? who have you been exhibiting with? and what have you got coming up?

I was most recently involved in an exhibition in Sydney called I didn't want flowers I wanted you to fuck me, it was in awareness of mental illnesses of women. And I also had a one night only Halloween show called Oferenda in Melbourne.

who from the current crop of artists on the scene today do you think we should be checking out? and which artists from the past would you say have had the most significant influence on your work?

There are so many amazing artists on the scene at the moment, here's a few: Ian Strange, Maddy Young, Sean Morris, Julia Trybala, Ben Constantine or Ben Sea and Mel Stringer.
My favourite artists are Bernini, Tracy Emin, Kelsey Brookes and Rothko. Each have influenced me over the years.

and to your work. what inspires you when you tackle a new piece? who are the muses of susanna rose sykes?

I really just work constantly, it’s the trick for me. I do a lot of work every day. I am very critical of myself as most artists are, but I love art and it keeps me sane. Mainly humans inspire me, conversations I've had or I've listened to, just general life. Emotional and abundant life.

once you have that initial spark, what is the process you undertake when creating a piece?

I lay down a sketch and then paint in gouache or acrylic, depending on the base, and then I ink the lines.

what first led you down the artist’s path? has it always been with you or was it something that happened gradually?

I think it was probably through my parents. My mum is a graphic designer and my dad is a sign writer, so they’ve always encouraged my artistic endeavours since I was young. I've always had a brush or pen in my hand. It's my passion.

there seems to be a major focus on the female nude in your works. why do women’s bodies take such a precedence?

I think firstly because I have one, and I have struggled in many ways getting used to having a woman's body, and every day I struggle with being comfortable with it. I've watched many people in my life struggle with body image and sexuality, so I think it comes through in my work quite significantly. I want people to know they aren't alone in their confusing human bodies.

now i could go on and on about what i think the themes of your pieces are, but i’d like to ask you just what themes are the focus of your works?

Gender, identity and sexuality come into play quite a lot because I like to draw life. I like to think they are a lot about observation. I watch the people around me and tell their stories in the only way I know how.

personally i love your piece “it’s weighing on me, you touch me”. what was the inspiration behind it?

Dealing with stress.

you also dabble in fashion design. how’s that all going? what have you been creating fashion wise?

I am working on some screen-prints at the moment but I have a few big plans for the future collaborating between my art and fashion.

you moved to melbourne a few years back. why has that city grabbed you?

Melbourne is such a beautiful place. I moved a year ago and was welcomed by a bunch of beautiful artists, who have become some of the most amazing people I've met in my life! Also I loved the random weather here hehe…

and lastly, what have you got coming up for the rest of the year? are you working on any new works? do you have any exhibitions coming up?

I have two exhibitions in December, so expect to see a lot more of me :) Thank you so much for talkin wit me homies xxxx


check the susanna rose sykes site

tumblr susanna rose sykes art