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Rising Stars: Meet Sydney Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sydney Lee.

Hi Sydney, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always been interested in art and the creative process. For my Etsy journey, my creative process started with a broken wine glass and a candlestick, plus an idea. The wine glass looked to me to be a great glass dome to create something with, it happened to fit perfectly on top of a brass candlestick, and from there I began to imagine a miniature world within the glass featuring a miniature tree. I took these supplies to my studio and began creating the first of many tree terrarium sculptures. Sculpting the trees with clay and preserved moss for the leaves. From there, I opened my Etsy shop UniqueLeeArt in 2013 when I was in high school. I continued making my terrariums and after graduating art school at MICA in 2019, I branched out to also create paper sculptures of pets/animals. As well as beginning to participate in local art fairs and craft markets.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been a fun adventure along the way, overall a smooth road. One of the balances I encountered was completing my coursework at MICA as well continuing to maintain my business and expand my creations for Etsy. Finding my identity as a creator has been the largest part of my journey so far. Finding the mediums and styles, I am passionate about that drive my creative process.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in mixed media sculptures that have a natural or realistic style. I love to repurpose vintage and antique objects such as candlesticks, tea sets, unique vessels into my terrarium sculptures. I am known for transforming materials in unexpected ways such as creating a custom realistic pet portrait sculpture entirely from dictionary pages and terrariums using everyday items like a wine glass. I am also known for recycling and repurposing objects to give them a second life through my artwork in unique ways. The resulting creations bring me so much joy to create, as well as immense joy to the person who will cherish the artwork in their homes. The sculptures I create are immediately recognizable as their subject, but upon a closer look you begin to notice that they are created with unique materials and fine detail.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
My work has largely been done from home so the adjustment to quarantine was subtle. But the pandemic did offer me more time to focus on my art identity and to expand my artistic practice and Etsy business. I am very thankful for the essential workers such as postal workers who continued during the pandemic, as well as support I received from the community of creators and makers that helped keep me inspired.

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