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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Artist of the Week: Discovering Sydney Gillette


As a child, creativity is a natural part of being. Children’s’ inclination to curiosity is often channeled through art classes and physical activities. For junior Sydney Gillette, childhood dance classes were their first act of artistic expression. 

“I grew up dancing, so that’s my beginning of art: the dance realm. It’s been interesting shifting from my physical art that’s not connected to dance and then revisiting dance, and now connecting my physical art to dance. It’s kind of an interesting connection back to the beginning these days,” Gillette said.

Currently, Gillette is connecting to their dance background through large-scale charcoal drawings. They use their own physical movements and the response of the charcoal to create movement-based art. 

“I’m interested in listening to the body and material rather than telling it what to do or be, so I have been having a lot of fun with that process. It’s been a blast. A secret of mine is that I don’t know what I’m doing ever, so I feel like I would have a really hard time categorizing my work. It’s been very exploratory,” Gillette said.

Gillette’s artistic experimentation has taken them through many different mediums. Their work moves from the 2D to the 3D, from paint to yarn. Working with the medium’s natural inclination, Gillette makes a connection between the movement of their body while creating and the piece itself.

“I like things that are easy to exist with in terms of embracing their natural state. I love yarn and fabric because it’s so soft and familiar–charcoal, too, because fire is another familiar thing and that’s where charcoal comes from. I love elemental things that are also materials. And clay, you can never forget about clay, it’s so bodily,” Gillette said.

They work to find inspiration in everyday activities that bring them joy, even looking at the joy itself.

“It depends on where I am at with what I am doing currently with my actual brain and body. I appreciate super easy and simple things such as going for a walk outside, or a hike, or cooking a meal and seeing that active composition. It’s the same with dance too–it’s an active composition where you are sort of discovering the outcome,” Gillette said. “I also like to think emotionally, and treat happiness as an act of discovery. I like to make that connection. You can apply that to every aspect of your life. Hopefully. It’s hard work.”

In addition to finding inspiration from their emotions and routine, Gillette looks to their work to show them new ways to discover and create. They also hope to continue this work in their future professional life.

“I work with kids. They are the most incredible beings ever. I think most generally and simply-put, I would love to be an art teacher and just share creativity with kids, as well as learn from kids because they are so creative and they’re always discovering,” Gillette said. “That’s also why I like working with kids; they give you the tools to discover as an adult, because you forget those things sometimes.”

Discovery acts as a thread that pulls together different aspects of Gillette’s life, as well as their art, from their home to the classroom.

“I work in the morning for class in the before-school program, so I’ll go from being with kids to being in a French class learning the language. It’s goofy to me sometimes–discovering with children, discovering with a professor, discovering in the art studio or dance studio,” Gillette said.

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  • M

    Mel MillerJan 29, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    It is so powerful to catch a persons developmental process in their generativity. I’m sure Sydney will continue their creative journey, and this is like a time capsule of this moment in their development. Well done!

  • M

    Magnus MoederJan 29, 2022 at 8:36 am

    beautiful development of what a medium can be, from the art to the artist–appreciating both the creation and the creator. very mature writing