CV & BIO

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sylvie

mcclelland

b. San Diego, California, United States 

Dual Degree BFA , Illustration with a focus in Metal and Jewelry Arts,  California College of Arts and Crafts, 2004 & University of San Francisco, 2004 

Bio

Sylvie is a multi-ethnic queer artist, originally from San Diego, California. They grew up in a family that was very focused on psychology, the arts and social justice. In 2000, they moved to San Francisco to study for a Dual-Degree Bachelor of Fine Arts between California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA) and University of San Francisco. In their last year of college, their father unexpectedly passed away and they took a break from painting. In the years between, they have designed costumes for local drag and theatre events in San Francisco, pursued drawings and illustrations in pen and ink, and painted and fabricated stop-motion puppets for use in motion pictures and television. They now primarily focus on creating oil paintings at their home studio in San Francisco, CA.

STATEMENT

My background directly informs my identity and in turn, my paintings. My family is working class and ethnically/culturally mixed. My father was a therapist and social worker and he worked to reconnect with his Native American roots and to heal the intergenerational trauma in our family. These struggles have found their way into my work. As I had to turn away from my own art making in order to survive, it seemed particularly important to explore the themes relating to why that was. These include psychology, family/relational stories, the experience of being mixed-race/cultural, and gender/queer identity. 


My work visually explores the construct of the human self and identity. As we move forward through life, our memories, relationship experiences, and physical and emotional connections to the natural world keep us moored to our growing self. I’m fascinated by the stories people tell themselves about who they are and I layer imagery to create an emotional mirror for the viewer. Being queer and having a culturally mixed family, it is particularly important to me to portray subjects that aren’t part of the mainstream art world, and the majority of my models come from “marginalized” backgrounds. Yet though my work is intimate and sensitive in theme, it is bold and brave in execution. The use of color is of great importance to me: I enjoy color and I have come to realize, after reconnecting to my roots and the stories in my family, that bright colors were stolen from us through colonization and forced assimilation into mainstream culture. Reclaiming the use, even the overuse, of color has been greatly rewarding to me. Through the use of the natural imagery as well as nature-based symbolism, I use these colors to create glazed settings for my subjects. When viewing my work, I hope that the observer sees not only someone else’s story, but also finds a place to resonate and consider their own perception of self and being.

EXhibitions

2021          Group Exhibition, I'm Speaking: The Language of Art, PxP Contemporary, Juried by Alicia Puig. 

2021          Group Exhibition, Familiar Strangers: Self-Portraits, Online, The Vacant Museum

2021          Group Exhibition, VOX: Multiple Voices in Portraiture, an.ä.log gallery, San Francisco, CA.

                  Invitational show curated by Don Ross

2020          Group Exhibition, No End In SightVantage Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada.

                  Invitational curated by Charlie J. Meyers

2020          Group Exhibition, 10xTEN, Faultline Art Space, Oakland, CA. Invitational show curated

                  by Mario Navasero and Felicia Ann 

2020          National Juried Exhibition, Small Works 2020, Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs, NY.

                  Juried by Tiffany Gaines, Curator at Burchfield Penney Art Center. 

2020          Group Exhibition, Creating In Place, an.ä.log gallery, San Francisco, CA. 

2020          Group Exhibition, Eat, Sleep, (I Can't) Breathe, Online, The Vacant Museum 

2020          Group Exhibition, Quarantine Cuties, Online, Mexakitsch, Bay Area, CA.

2019          National Juried Exhibition, Alchemy, Arts Guild of Sonoma, CA. Juried by

                  Jenny Gheith, Assistant Curator of Painting & Sculpture at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2018          Group Exhibition, Dark Creatures, Somewhere Else Art Space, Berkeley, CA. 

2018          Semi-Finalist, MUNI Art 2019, San Francisco Beautiful, San Francisco, CA. 

Bibliography, Publications

2021         All She Makes, Edition 2, July/August 2021

2021         Faultline Artspace, “10XTEN: 100 Bay Area Womxn Artists,” Exhibition Catalogue and 

                 Artbook, Oakland, CA, February 10.

2020         Sarah Jansen, “No End In Sight: Exhibition Catalogue,” Vantage Art Projects, 2020 Issue-Q4,

                 review and catalogue, November 20.  

                 https://vantageartprojects.com/vap-2020-q4/exhibition-no-end-in-sight/

2020         The Vacant Museum, “Eat, Sleep, (I Can’t) Breathe: Exhibition Catalogue,” catalogue,

                 July 17. https://www.vacantmuseum.com/eat-sleep-i-cant-breathe/

Commissions

2021         Private Art Commission, I. Showalter, oil on canvas, Portrait of Mother and Self

2020         Private Art Commission, I. Showalter, oil on canvas, Portrait

2019         Private Art Commission, M. Taplin, oil on canvas, Portrait

2017         Private Art Commission, E. Houseman, oil on canvas, Portrait

Professional Activities

                 Member, Berkeley Art Center

2020         Instructor, “Drawing Portraits for Painting,” 3-week online course.

2020         Instructor, “Painting with Bright Color,” 3-week online course.

Film Credits - Stop Motion Animation

2020           Painter, Animation Outlaws, San Francisco, CA.

2016           Painter, Mermaids on Mars, Athena Studios, Emeryville, CA.

2015           Painter and Fabricator, The Delivery, Athena Studios, Emeryville, CA

2012           Painter and Fabricator, Henry Selick's The Shadow King, San Francisco, CA

Event Coordination/Design

2014           MLee Aetherial Arts, Love is Queer! With Honey Mahogany, 17th Annual 

                   Queer Arts Festival, Children’s Creativity Museum, San Francisco, CA. 

2010-14      Seth Eisen/EyeZen Presents:

                    HomoFile: Chronicling the Life of Samuel Steward, 2012, CounterPulse,

                    San Francisco, CA.

                    Feast of the Pink Moon (Buffet Flats: Queering Slow Food Salon Series), 2012,                           Million Fishes Arts Collective, San Francisco, CA. 

                    Harvest Moon: Shine On! (Buffet Flats: Queering Slow Food Salon Series), 2011,                         Tenderloin National Forest/The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA. 

                    Red Moon, (Buffet Flats: Queering Slow Food Salon Series), 2011,

                    Private Residence, San Francisco, CA. 

                    Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas, Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, 2010,                     San Francisco, CA. 

2000-10       Bridge Theatre, Midnight Mass with Peaches Christ, San Francisco, CA.

Collections

Public collection, City of Coronado, Coronado, CA. 

Private collections, Los Angeles, CA.

Private collections, San Francisco, CA.

Private collection, Portland, OR.

Private collection, Paris, France.

Private collection, Sydney, Australia.