Meet Sidney Teodoruk, one of Australia’s most exciting pop-artists on the come-up.

With his debut solo exhibition currently on display at London’s D’Stassi Art gallery, Teodoruk’s bold, playful, and evocative work explores the concept of juxtaposition through composition, text, and colour to present what he calls ‘visual poetry’. To celebrate the launch of our latest artist series collaboration, we caught up Teodoruk to discuss breaking into the world of art, what inspired him, the power of imagination, and what’s on the horizon for the bright, young artist. 

How did you get into painting?

I’ve been painting my whole life, really. My dad has been a painter his whole life, so I mostly get it from him and observing him paint and draw from an early age. Though I pursued many other creative paths before I turned professional, and I guess that was a result as a form of therapy. Quite a few years ago now, my whole life turned upside down and that’s when I was started painting again, almost as a way to rediscover who I am. Man, did I feel at home when I started painting again, it came back to me and unfolded so naturally. I hadn’t painted in over a decade at that point.

Now, I find inspiration everywhere! It just comes down to curating that inspiration and what it is that I want to say or express. I’m a little different to most artists who paint in the streets in that I take from the streets and paint in my studio. The blocks of colour you’ll see in my work come from the graffiti removal I see in the street where the council come along and cover up graffiti with a colour attempting to be the same as the original colour already painted underneath. I love that! If you know how to look at art, you’ll see art everywhere!  

The greatest artists, in my humble opinion, have all they need right upstairs in their head: their imagination. I pride myself on staying imaginative, that’s where originality lies. Luckily for me, staying creative isn’t hard, everything I do is a form of expression and being creative is just who I am.

The only way Sydney can be a creative city is if one imagines it to be - like a skater who sees the streets as a playground. Melbourne is a creative city though, for sure! As soon as you arrive in Melbourne, you can feel the creative life force all around you. Maybe that makes it better for someone like me to stay in a relatively uncreative city like Sydney, so that I have to constantly create it myself.  

We collaborated together on great art shirts using your work. Can you tell us about those pieces and the process?

It’s honestly been a dream of mine to collaborate with a brand and for a while now. I didn’t want to just collab with anyone though, and I knew I had to be patient and keep developing my own craft before I would feel ready to meet with a brand. I’ve legit been a big fan of Neuw for a long time, so when the idea was put to me, I was over the moon! It’s quite surreal for me, but I believe it’s a match made in heaven. I’ve ticked off a huge milestone in my career - working with Neuw is one of those ‘on the life goals list’, so to speak.

 The artworks that were chosen for the collaboration feature a few of my iconic motifs, the leopard, the relaxed sun, text, and blocks of colour. Those particular pieces represent ideas that have evolved throughout my practice as an artist. For example: if you take the black shirt with the leopard head as sort of where I started, and then move on to the shirt featuring the blocks of colour with the bananas to the third design, which is the black shirt that combines all of the above, the blocks of colour, the iconic motifs of mine - it’s like reading a book from left to right or seeing my experimentation as I evolve over time. The work pushes further and becomes more layered with scattered symbolism like visual poetry.

I would describe my style as me. Influenced by movements and eras of the past: the romantic 20s to the working 40s, meets the rock’n'roll of the 60s & 70s, meets the punk & grunge of 90s, and the future all bundled together. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? It seems to be working though, haha!  

There’s never a dull moment! I’m currently putting together a book featuring selected works of mine, writings, poems & photos, a coffee table style book with another artist I’ve collaborated with Neil Tomkins, a few private commissions, and solo shows for next year in London, Seoul, and possibly Sydney.

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