Alexia Sinclair’s digital art is part fashion, part montage, part tribute and totally original. Whether her subject is an artistic depiction of Cleopatra or a commission for Canon, the Sydney-based artist combines her unique artistic eye with virtuoso digital skills. And in mid-August she’ll be in Auckland for Semi-Permanent ’09
Can you pigeonhole yourself: are you primarily a photographer? Digital artist? Director?
The closest I can get to pigeonhole myself is to say that I’m a Fine Artist. An ever-evolving Fine Artist whose tools include a camera and a computer rather than a paintbrush and canvas. I certainly direct my models and sets and design costumes and makeup but this is only the surface of things. Life seems calm on the surface of the pond but my little legs are in fifth gear!
How are your artworks typically commissioned?
My artworks are typically personal works that I spend years producing and personally funding to exhibit in museums and galleries and for the general public. Commissioned works are a small part of what I do. In a sense I’m commissioned with my fine art—for instance, the Australian Centre for Photography has already booked my show for the series I’m currently producing, ‘The Royal Dozen’.
What’s the longest you’ve spent perfecting an image?
I’ve lived with some of my fine art images for over three years, especially when they’re part of a series. My artworks evolve with me. I tend to work on a piece for a while and then rework a piece to work not only as an individual piece but also as part of a series.
Your work has an obvious Renaissance flavour, yet is absolutely modern in a fashion sense. The classic and modern are combined in such a coherent way—not presented in an ironic manner, for example, which many artists would do by default. How did you develop this style?
I once heard a statement about Roman history, ‘A curious story half lost in myth’, and fell in love with this statement immediately—possibly because it’s so relevant to my art making and style as an artist. I love to be subtle in my symbolic tale telling. It’s wonderful when people ponder where reality begins and ends, where painting and pixels are fused, and where the past and present meet. They meet in my world and it’s simply my imagination, rich with the things that I love. I’m a lover of fashion and style, architecture, history, mythology, art, dance, performance or anything that heightens the senses. My style as an artist has developed along the way and it’s purely instinctual and organic.
Is commercial work merely a way of paying the bills, or a source of ideas and inspiration for your own work? Is it as satisfying and creative as the fine art?
I don’t do a great deal of commercial work. When I do, I only work on jobs that are catered to me as a Fine Artist, rather than doing a job for job’s sake. The art directors who send me work are interested in Alexia Sinclair, the exhibiting Fine Artist. It is challenging working with other people and their ideas but this is wonderful as it only encourages me to evolve as an artist.
How does your interest in cooking and dance affect the way you approach your art? And what’s your specialty dish?
I just wouldn’t be the artist I am without those fundamental components of my life. Firstly, dance makes me feel free, like I’m flying. Flying is a big part of my dreaming and I know when this is happening, I’m in full creative mode.
Secondly, cooking is my meditation. It’s amazing to think we spend so much time trying to control our lives and the things we consume and yet so few people understand food or how it affects you.
Specialty dish? Maybe zucchini flowers stuffed with prawns, ginger and garlic and lightly cooked in a fresh tempura batter. That’s my party trick at the moment. Did I mention my dinner parties? Life should be lived and loved.
What are you looking forward to in New Zealand?
We could do an interview solely on my photographic journeys—on camelback through the Sahara desert, shooting in palaces of the Loire Valley or living in New York City as a digital artist. What is astonishing is that I have been desperate to come to New Zealand for decades and just haven’t had the opportunity because I’m always searching for something completely foreign to what I know. What I’m most looking forward to is the immense beauty that New Zealand has to offer in landscape photography as well as the wonderful and edgy inspiring fashion that small designers in New Zealand produce. The wonderful people and culture … I’m looking forward to being inspired by New Zealand. Finally!