Sindy Sinn is a damn talented illustrator and musician living in Convict-Town, Australia. His work is bold, vibrant, and his his words ‘creepy’. After many years of practise, Sindy has recently entered the ‘art-hustle’ full-time, with lots of commission work. He is also about to set-up a proper online shop + release a children’s book; all of which will be instilled with his energy, humour, and love of all things rock-n-roll.
(Photo below of Sindy Sinn being ‘supported’ by his motley crue)
Check out Sindy Sinn’s art, and get to know the dude, in the interview below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B ?
Sindy Sinn, born on the 24th of March 1987. Which makes me an Aries. A sexy Aries man.
City, State n Country you’re Repping?
I live in Sydney’s Inner West, NSW (Australia). Here’s some trivia though, I was born in Melbourne (VIC).
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn drawing)
Describe– a memory from three stages of yr life:
* age 10 – pre pubes:
I remember being obsessed with Nickelodeon cartoons, ‘Batman’ action figures, space-station ‘Lego’ and certain horror movies like ‘Nightmare on Elm St.’ I remember being chased by a tiny dog, tripping and grazing my knee. I remember being introduced to my little sister Lucy and moving house a lot.
* age 15 – pube rage:
…going through all the usual early high-school stuff. Figuring out who I was and how I fit into the world. I found that humor was a quick way to make friends and covered-up any shyness I might have otherwise had. Still obsessed with cartoons but also discovering music. I started playing drums and making music-pals with like-minded dudes. Gradually building a really strong circle of misfit-friends.
* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:
…moving out of home at 18, not that I was desperate to leave, but I was super-keen to be a part of the world. My love of music became a lifestyle and I was now playing-in and working-for multiple successful bands. During this whole time, I’d been drawing. And now in my 20’s art went from being a secret hobby, to a loud and passionate career-path that defines me.
(Photo below of a Sindy Sinn wall-piece)
I’ve had a few personal mottos over the years, all of which have come from hearing just a few words that so perfectly summed up the solution to my problems. At the moment, I’m all about “W.I.T.” which stands for, WHATEVER IT TAKES. And it relates to all things… to being a better artist, to being a better brother, son and person in general. Never to subside to any form of laziness. It won’t work for everyone, but it means a lot to me.
I have lots of favorite bands. I’ve always liked ‘Motorhead’ and ‘The Ramones’. They’ve been staples in my musical diet. But I also really like ‘The Hives’, ‘Black Sabbath’, ‘White Zombie’ and ‘The Skyhooks’. Anything that’s got some energy and genuineness to it.
Favorite TV show(s)?
My love of ‘Nickelodeon’ never died. The old-school episodes of ‘Ren & Stimpy’, ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ and ‘Arnold’ are still my favorites. But I also liked the ‘MTV’ stuff like ‘Beavis and Butthead’. In terms of REAL shows with humans, I guess ‘Seinfeld’ is my favorite.
(Picture below of Sindy Sinn’s interpretation of Beavis)
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
I was really into sport in high-school and I think I was quite good at it… but these days I don’t really watch very much sport. I played a drunk game of darts the other day and scored a thing called a ‘Shanghai’, that seems mildly if not off-topically relevant.
Have always loved movies… and I’m a big sucker for a series. ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Terminator’, ‘JAWS’, ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Rocky’.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn piece all framed up)
Specifics on Art:
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
I consider what I’m making to be ‘illustration’ and I consider myself an illustrator. Even though art and design come under that general umbrella. Essentially I love drawing, everything that I’ve done stems back to a love of drawing.
When did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
Since I was a kid, I’ve had an obsession with sketchbooks. So my first exposure to ‘making art’ was trying to fill up the pages with whatever creatures or monsters came to mind. As time went on, I started drawing posters for my bands. Essentially, we needed posters and I could draw. After I’d done a few, people started saying things like “cool poster” and it felt good.
Any formal art training? Or pivotal moment/influence?
I used to take a lot of art classes in school and have always been active at drawing or creating things. But I never went to any art-school or art-college. I don’t have formal training with regards to art. Sometimes I wish I did, but other times I’m glad I just started doing it. I figured out how to do what I wanted and started doing it. I’m aware of my artistic-weaknesses, so I go to things like life-drawing to get over that. I’m very active in researching how great artists work.
I recently completed a course in ‘childrens book illustration’ and am starting to work in that field. And even more recently I’ve been participating in ‘live art’, which essentially means drawing with an audience. This has opened me up to working on a bigger scale, getting me out of my comfort zone and turning white walls into something that people find interesting.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn poster for band ‘The Heavies’)
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle full time?
I have always had a really strong work ethic and I work really hard to provide my clients with what I consider to be good art. And even though I think the effort that goes into art and illustration is underappreciated… people can tell when you care about what you do. Word got out that I care about what I do, and I’ve been busy ever since.
Why the name “Sindy Sinn”?
Interesting story. It’s obviously not my band name. The name came about when I was young and everybody just started calling me Sindy. As time went on, it stopped being a weird girls name and became who I was. I guess it’s become as much of a trademark or a business name as it is an overgrown nickname. Regardless, I like it and it makes me feel a little different to everyone else.
KEEP IT KREEPY. I write it across all my sketchbooks and is an art-motto of mine. It reminds me to never settle for boring art. When it comes to art, you don’t need to play by the rules of reality. If you’re drawing a toaster, put an eyeball on it and fill the toaster with worms. It’s not for everybody but it works for me.
Favorite medium to make art outta?
I mostly work digitally in vector-art… because it’s more useful to my clients. However anything that’s drawn for me or for fun, is typically drawn by hand. There’s something really nice about the happy accidents of working with your hands. I like blunt pencils for sketching, chunky black markers for inking and ‘Copic Markers’ for coloring and shading. Besides knowing your tools, it’s really important to understanding (and love) the process of making art.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn slime-skull)
Favorite ‘other’ artist?
I have lots of favorite artists. I particularly like artists that have carefully developed their styles. They pick up a pen, draw something and everybody automatically knows that they drew it. Guys like Karl Kaufmann, Coop, Derrick Castle, Kevin Cross and Big Daddy Ed Roth come to mind.
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
The worst part of the contemporary art-hustle is that there are still clients that exist that aren’t prepared to pay for illustration work. What I mean by that, is that there is a “…but you said you LOVE drawing?” thing that goes on. It’s a little disheartening when people expect things for free or next to nothing. I work hard to produce the work that I do… and it’s nice to work for people that appreciate that.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
There are some great people in the art-world. Particularly in the street-art and tattoo communities. There’s not all the bullshit and competitiveness that’s associated with “graphic design”. Collaborating with other artists is a thing that’s high on my list of ‘DO OR YOU’LL DIE’.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn cartoon)
Sindy Sinn Art Questions:
Describe the method of making a ‘Sindy Sinn’ piece? (dot point all o.k.)
First I sketch out a couple versions of the idea. I do this with a blunt pencil on a piece of paper that I ruin with scribbles, sketches and thoughts. I pick the direction I like the best and re-sketch it on its own. I tweak and tweak and tweak the design until it’s looking and sitting the way that I want it to. From this point I scan it, get it on my screen and I draw over it in ‘Adobe Illustrator’. I have a ‘Wacom Tablet’ that allows me to draw into the computer like a pen. Once the outline of the piece is finished, I color everything in and add all the needed shading. At this point I get up, walk around and get it out of my head. I’ll come back to it later with fresh eyes and tweak any parts of the design that need to be fixed. Once it’s done I’ll do a test-print to double check I like the colors. After checking that, I send the files off to be printed professionally. Throughout the process there’s a billion emails back and forth and eventually I get paid.
You have done lots of work for local Sydney + Australian bands. What are musicians like to work with?
Musicians are great to work with. Sure, they’re sometimes hard to get in touch with, stubborn, smelly and broke. But when it’s good, it’s good. The briefs can be interesting to… anything from “we like red” to “make it fucking BRUTAL”. There are lots of hard working musicians in GREAT bands in Sydney and Australia. I consider myself very lucky to have so many consistent and returning clients in the Australian music industry.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn poster for Sydney band, ‘Glitter Canyon’)
You do commissions – often for bands, brand or venues – and you also work on making your own personal art – is it hard mixing the commission work with the self-directed stuff?
There’s definitely a balancing act between commissioned and personal artwork. Obviously I take complete pride in everything that I do and have never handed over artwork that I wasn’t happy with. The commissioned pieces always take priority… I have to appreciate that I’m one cog in a series of deadlines. Whenever I’ve done gallery exhibitions or personal pieces, it’s fallen in the downtime between commissioned illustrations.
I know you work a day job too; do you think that having art as a ‘hobby’ allows you more freedom than if you had to rely on it to make a living?
Having a regular job allows me to pick and choose what work I take on as an illustrator. I suspect if illustration was paying my rent and feeding me, I’d have no choice but to take on EVERY stick and bone that came my way. That said, it is a goal and dream of mine to one day live off purely my illustrations and art.
You have taken part in the ‘Secret Wars’ series of live-art events. What are they like to work on? A chore or a challenge?
(Photo below of Sindy Sinn at a ‘Secret Walls‘ live-art event)
‘Secret Walls’ is an amazing series of events which I am SO proud and privileged to be a part of. And it’s definitely not a chore. At the time that I signed on to be a part of the 2012 series, I was looking for ways to get out of my comfort zone. A 90 minute time limit, on a 1.3 x 1.3 metre board using ONLY black paint is a definite challenge. A challenge that I welcomed with open arms and I’ll never regret that decision. The people that I’ve met and the projects I’ve acquired from ‘Secret Walls’ are some of the most satisfying.
I know you have worked on t-shirt designs for bands, are you going to push this into a Sindy Sinn line?
(Picture Below of a Sindy Sinn t-shirt)
Yes. In fact I have some immediate plans regarding my illustrations on shirts and fashion. Every line of shirts I’ve ever had printed for myself, has sold out incredibly quickly. So, using this information, I’m working on a full clothing line.
I also know you like toys – saw your ‘RatFink’ toy online man, ever thought of making any of your art characters into a toy?
(Photo below of Sindy Sinn’s work-desk, with a ‘Ratfink’ toy in background)
I’ve never really thought of making toys. I’m not against it. It’s just not something that’s on my very very full plate right now. Although. There are some incredible artists out there, making some incredible toys. And I’m slowly collecting them for my work area. I have ‘Ratfinks’, ‘Stay Pufts’ and about two dozen bobbleheads.
You are COVERED in tats. Have you ever tattooed a fan? Or had fans get your work tattooed?
I do love tattoos. They’re a great form of self expression. And although I’ve never directly tattooed anyone, my designs are worn by a great number of people out there. I’ve drawn everything from zombies to pistols for friends to get tattooed. And in more recent times have been supplying tattoo shops with ‘FRIDAY THE 13TH’ flash sheets for their walls. Tattoos are fun; get as many as you can.
(Picture below of a tattoo about to hit Sindy Sinn’s skin, idea from Sindy; drawn by the damn talented Karl Kaufmann)
Does your self-directed work all exist in its own ‘universe’; such as the ‘Sindy Sinn’ universe? – you know, just as ‘Marvel’ + ‘DC’ have their ‘universes; OR do all your pieces stand alone? (Yes I am basically asking if you see your characters all interacting in your head, in the ‘Sindy Sinn’ universe. IF so, what do they get up to?)
I consider myself very lucky, in that my personal style came to me quite early. I know how I like to draw and that’s the way I draw. So when it comes to character design, yes all my characters live in the same world. Sadly they don’t all get along. Some of them have bad tempers, whilst others are too slimy to make friends. I’m not sure what the Sindy Sinn universe looks like … probably a fucked up version of the Smurfs and I’m their bastard father Gargamel.
(Photo below of Sindy Sinn’s laptop + work-desk mid creation)
Do you use digital technology in your work at all? If so how, and what has it added to your practice?
I primarily work in vector-art, into ‘Adobe Illustrator’ through a wacom tablet. The wacom tablet is a terrific piece of technology because the pen never runs dry.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn cartoon)
Any collaborations on the horizon?
As well as my usual commissioned illustration work, I’ve got a couple exhibitions on the horizon which should be exciting. Exhibitions are a good chance to get out of the house, grab a beer and awkwardly stand in front of my work and casually ask “what do you think?”. But I’ve also got some clothing-line stuff on the way, some regular comics on the way and one day oh finally one day a children’s book of my very own.
Any major projects you want to hype man?
Any upcoming projects, events and exhibitions will be on my website. From there I also sell prints, shirts and occasionally specials like caricatures.
(Picture below of a Sindy Sinn poster for Sydney music venue, ‘The Square‘)