Brushstrokes that seem to be aimless lines to anyone watching Detroit native, Sydney G. James, paint are the beginnings of what will become rich, emotional portraits. Deep hues, and complex layering created with the use of acrylics, oils, pastels, graphite, and other mediums, have become signatures of her work portraying familiar, friendly and familial faces. Enchanting. Hypnotizing. Disarming. Meaningful. These are the words Sydney “creates” by. Redrawing characters from coloring books as a 3-year old artist, family road trips, the mourning of her late father as a teenaged girl, witnessing her mother’s grief, mortifying break-ups with boyfriends, arguments and triumphs with her sisters, are all memories that Sydney chooses to let cloak her. Out of those memories, and new life experiences, her artwork is conceived and born.
After earning her BFA from the College of Creative Studies in 2001, Sydney began her career as an Art Director for Global Hue Advertising Agency in Detroit primarily creating print and television advertising for major international brands. She moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to expand her career. Securing a staff position as resident artist for the ABC Family show, Lincoln Heights, Sydney created all of the artwork for the set, lead character, Cassie, a prodigal artist in addition to other artist characters, utilizing various styles to define each personality her works represented. She has worked as an artist for several other network television shows as well as films. Sydney returned to her hometown Detroit, MI in 2011 to join the vast creative movement occurring in hopes to revitalize a great city.
Sydney’s work has been exhibited at the Charles H. Wright museum of African American History, The Red Bull House of Art, Gentlemen Jack’s Art, Beats and Lyrics, and numerous exhibitions throughout Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Washington D.C., New Orleans and New York. She has a host of private collectors. Industry insiders anticipate significant interest in this artist as her star rises. Sydney shares, “My work is always personal and, I want my viewers to experience a personal connection as well.”