May 3rd, 2017
Jesse Gussow

If you aren’t following our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages I recommend you do as we show lots of artists work there, before we interview them here. Sinclair Korte is an artist whose work we shared on our Instagram page. His work is stunning; the perfect mix of beauty and dark. I was drawn to it; his use of watercolours and the blending of the colours is just superb! I remember the first time I saw his work; I loved it and initially thought it was a beautiful watercolour portrait. However, the more I looked at it I began to see how it was a little darker and twisted than I first noticed . His current project of people holding their own heads is the perfect embodiment of that. Take a look and give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook as well.


Where are you from?

I was born in New York, but grew up in good ol’ East Lansing, Michigan.


How did you get started on your artistic journey?

My parents always provided my brother, sister, and I with art supplies, music, and the kind of creative freedom you would expect a child to have. On top of that, they introduced music to us at a young age too. I learned to play the trumpet, French horn, and violin by the time I was 10. It is a hard question to answer because creativity and expression was always such a big part of my life, but I think I started taking my visual art more seriously, and down a path a few years after my dad passed away, so probably around the age of 15. I had to put whatever was in my head on paper, or just keep my hands, and mind busy, and just kind of kept going from there.


How would you describe your style?

Forever changing.  A lot of my own feelings/emotions show up on the piece through the color (I’m probably the only one that notices).  I am not fond of creating happy or content looking things; if I have to, I always try to make it darker in some way, not necessarily unnatural looking, just a little unsettling, at least that’s what I like to think I am doing, so I just smile when people say something is “beautiful” haha.

I’d like to dive into my dark side a little more, but I’m waiting for the right time.


Where do you find your inspiration?

Music and movies. I love Sci-Fi books, anything that can take me out of my world for a little bit.  If it is good enough to me, and I come back with a different mindset/mood than what I went in with, I tend to feel a flood of inspiration, then I remember that some beautiful creative out there thought it up, it gives me hope too, that maybe what I do will be more than just pictures to people.


What is your process for making a piece from start to finish?

I am currently working on a series of portraits where people are holding their own heads, so I know what the next projects are, not a whole lot of planning there.

First there is a lot of excitement, because the rage and frustration from finishing the last piece is over, a new beginning! Then comes the very peaceful, and enjoyable preliminary drafting. I love to draw, it’s simple, just my pencil, eraser, and I. Speaking of erasers, how awesome are they, you slag your drawing, a couple rubs later, you can try it again, it’s beautiful.  After I fall in love with the drawing I made, I decide to try and not ruin it with paint.

Next is my favorite part, putting down the first couple layers of watercolor, mapping out where the reds, blues, yellows, highlights, and shadows will be. I use very thin layers because I like to build the piece up.

As saturation, and depth begin to show, I start taking longer breaks in between layers, I have to start leaving parts of the painting alone because there is no more to do in that area. The other parts I have to darken, and further saturate.  This is where the rage and frustration begin to build, because I have a lovely habit where I overwork my pieces, so it is no longer enjoyable, and requires a lot of meditation (a glass of whiskey).

Viewing what I’m working on in a mirror, or digitally helps at this point, because it feels like it is less in my face, and I can really see it as a whole. After enough planning, plotting, mapping, and napping, the calm begins to return, and I proceed with even thinner layers than before, until it looks like it could be something close to what was in my head in the beginning stages.

I wait days to sign it, and declaring something finished, as I do not return to things, I’ll take what I learned to the next painting, then repeat.


Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what kind ?

Absolutely, I go mad in silence, which is also necessary at times.

I put on my alt-J, or Chemical Brothers radio, and see what it has to offer.  It also depends on if I’ve had coffee, or other adult beverages, in that case, it’s usually Metal, or something sad, like Alesund by Sun Kil Moon (give that a listen).


If you could have a super power what would it be and why?

Is being a Time Lord a super power? I am a big Doctor Who fan. Traveling and relative dimensions in space seem more alluring to me than flying, speed, or strength, all of which can be gained with the help of technology, and if we all survive the singularity, and the rise of A.I., maybe we’ll get those anyway! This might sound like gibberish to a lot people, but if you are down with the Doctor, let’s eat some fish sticks and custard eh? J


How do you come up with your work? Is it from photos or your imagination or different references?

I get in trouble sometimes because I look at people as paintings, how would I do the shadows on their face, where are the highlights, what colors would I use, what do I find difficult? If the lighting is good in that situation I ask if I can take a photo.  Other times, like for this current series, it just evolves from past paintings. That seems to be happening more and more.


If you weren't an artist what would you be doing?

I don’t like thinking about that alternative world, and I won’t start now.


How have you grown as an artist since you first started, to now?

My skills and techniques have evolved quite a bit since I first started taking my art seriously, as something I want to do the rest of my life, but progression of skill over time is to be expected when you stick with something.  I would say the bigger growth I have seen in myself is how I think about art, and being a creative.  I respect other artists more than I did when I was young, basing my opinions off of whether I liked how something looked or not. Now it is about their concept behind the creation, who they are behind their tools, their drive. I use to be very competitive; I’d be lying if I said I still wasn’t a little, but now my curiosity floats towards the wonder behind the finished piece, why they create, and in turn, it is easier for me to create for the sake of doing it. I started living in my own art, and began to enjoy learning from others.


What's the worst job you've ever had and why?

For a month, back in high school I worked at Tradehome Shoes as a salesman, then I quit after I bought the shoes I wanted, a pair of high top Chuck Taylors. Couldn’t tell you why I disliked it so much, besides feeling dead inside working for them, and the fact that high pressured sales is not my forte. That is, of course, an overactive high schooler’s thought process.


What are your current goals for your artwork?

Simple! To finish it, and make more.


Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies? Or some thing else?

Chocolate milk and pizza rolls, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people with IBS.

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