Sydonne Warren

Photograph of Sydonne Warren

Sydonne Warren

Photo: Slow Tsang

Sydonne Warren

Sydonne Warren's track takes an unexpected turn into public art

Sydonne Warren had a plan. She was going to quit her job at Cats Art Studio Cats Arts Studio teaching clay and painting to kids and adults, and go back to school. Her interest in and talent for the arts was cemented in high school, and she had already taken some design and architectural technologies courses, so she enrolled at Alberta University for the Arts and started in the design stream in 2019.

“I took all the design classes and everything — I had one painting class, because I figured I already know how to paint so I’m not going to do painting,” she says. “And that year, it was definitely challenging. I feel like it definitely pushed me to be creative on demand and we explored a lot of conceptualism and it really helped me to kind of dig deeper into who I am.

“But then 2020 happened, the big shutdown.”

When the pandemic occurred, Warren began posting her paintings online and decided to try to be a social media influencer on Instagram. A few weeks later, a few local businesses and people reached out to her about doing murals, and then Park Production House asked her to work on an outdoor installation.

“They showed me the ropes, and I also worked… alongside other artists (who) gave me a lot of tips on what paint to use, what tools to use, where I can find other public art applications,” says Warren. She credits this experience with helping to push her into the public art world. “They put me in the position to collab on that… and they made sure that whenever news people were stopping by for press, they put me in the forefront there because they… wanted to push me and get me out there, which helped a lot.”

Warren sees many benefits of public art to the community. For her, the thing that sets it apart from anything else is the level of engagement you get from the public. “…People are just overjoyed when they see new art in their community. They’re always taking pictures, sending you pictures of them with it, and I feel it kind of just adds value to our community. So I do feel like I’m giving back to the community in some way when I’m making a piece of public artwork.”

Tune in to our Storytelling Podcast to hear more about Sydonne Warren’s work and how she’s looking forward to working on new opportunities in the public art space.

About The Storytelling Podcast

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts. Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

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