Life As Poster Art

14 August 2013 | 1:59 am | Bethany Cannan

“I think if I had gone to art school, I would have rebelled against it, and been like, ‘fuck that, I’m going to be a lawyer, or a tradie, or a rocket scientist!’”

t's a cold weekday morning in Sydney, and Sindy Sinn spies us a couple of cosy window seats at Olive Green's, a small café with a fondness for all things organic. Next door is Work-Shop, where Sinn is taking a night off later this month to run a gig poster illustration class.

Sinn is obsessed with sharing ideas and being a part of the artistic community, which is why he is taking the opportunity to run a class. He explains, “There's a specific approach to gig poster illustration. You need to be able to communicate with bands, tailor your illustration for a band, and there's deadlines and a budget.” Sinn never studied at an art school, admitting, “I think if I had gone to art school, I would have rebelled against it, and been like, 'fuck that, I'm going to be a lawyer, or a tradie, or a rocket scientist!'”

Autodidactism suits Sinn, even though he took art seriously in high school, but was heavily involved in music. Sinn left Sydney soon after school, travelling with bands as a roadie and occasional stage manager. Eventually growing tired of life on the road, Sinn returned to Sydney, where he started a few bands locally, then realising it was easier to draw their gig posters himself, modestly adding that he didn't think of himself as a particularly good draughtsman at that point. But his work was noticed by other bands, who started asking after him. Sinn now works full-time as a freelance illustrator. “It's incredibly hard. A part of me thinks there's a really glamorous side to being an illustrator, or an artist. But the reality is that it's really long hours ... I've got deadlines and I'm juggling clients and I'm trying to make sure people pay me on time and I'm trying to pay my rent and have a life.”

Sinn says he has no interest in putting out “safe” art. While he feels art doesn't have to be offensive, he loves art that “looks crazy and interesting … and a little bit creepy.” The inspiration for his own work comes mostly from his love of cartoons and movies. I was curious about the tools Sinn uses to create his work, but apart from a computer and Wacom tablet, it's just a sketchbook and a few pens and pencils. “I don't have expensive pens that I have to use. I just make the best out of basic equipment. I try not to be too precious about it all.”

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Sinn is currently designing a collection of boys' shirts for Mambo, and writing and illustrating children's books, along with work for his regular bands and venues. Sinn has started painting murals, too, and his most recent work can be found at Mary's, a bar in Newtown.