Manhasset library features art, hosts reception
For Sydney Weisman, art is more than a pastime; it has been a ubiquitous presence in her life. Before she graduated to oils and mixed media, she was making sculptures with the wax wrapping from her mini cheeses at lunch and crafting things from duct tape. “Many of my earliest memories are of art. I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember.” Weisman said.
Weisman also credits growing up in such a culturally rich and accessible area for instilling her love of art at an early age. Her family took her to the city often, and she was captivated by both the art and her observations of the people viewing it. “I was really lucky to grow up in a place where it’s so easy to access places to view art. So I would go on day trips to the city with my parents or grandparents to the MET and the MoMA and I would do little doodles there. And as I got older, I would go in with my sketchbook and just copy certain things that I liked from different artists.”
There is a level of discipline in Weisman that you don’t often see at such a young age. She practices her techniques whenever she has a free moment, but also maintains a regimented schedule. “During the summers I would paint for 20 hours a week, and during the school year I paint for 10 hours a week. And in college when I took a painting course I would just like go in whenever I have free time, bring a friend do a quick like hour and a half portrait of them. I did around 60 1-hour portraits where I would give myself like an hour, maybe like an hour 15 minutes, to capture someone’s portrait. And when you’re under that time constraint It makes you look at what’s essential.” This dedication to practice and honing her skills is evident in her paintings.
People are a strong source of inspiration for Weisman, who cites portraiture as a favorite category of work. “I just love watching people. It’s so crazy how a single stroke can change someone’s entire expression, (their) demeanor. That’s something I’ve always found really exciting about portraiture, because of the story you can tell through the expressions on your faces.”
The process for her work usually begins with a photo, which she then revisits when she returns home. She evaluates them for composition and light to determine if they would translate well into her chosen medium. “Photos can be taken on a simple, mundane, activity that I do regularly or when I go into the city, taking pictures of people on the street…I’m always taking pictures and always analyzing what I see.”
During the pandemic, Weisman was able to explore many different mediums, including colored pencil, gouache, watercolor, acrylic, paint marker and wood burning and whittling. She has also been throwing pottery for many years. While at college she created an installation called Plarn in Place, which involved creating yarn from discarded plastic. This material, called “plarn,” was then crocheted around a tree. She is also interested in exploring digital design and using some of those designs to produce 3d printed and laser cut projects.
When it comes to her plans for college and beyond, it should surprise no one that art features prominently. However, Weisman’s passion extends beyond her own interests. Her enthusiasm for art may be driving her to share it with others. “I just love how art brings people together and connects people. During the summer I spent time teaching art to kids at a camp and (I loved) seeing how much joy making art can bring them. It doesn’t matter your skill level or anything, It’s just so fun and joyful and free. And I would love to continue to teach art in that way, or pursue a master’s in teaching art so that I can continue to share it.”
The Manhasset Library is currently exhibiting the art of Sydney Weisman through the end of January 2023. This featured artist has over 60 works on display throughout the three floors of the building.
This is Weisman’s second comprehensive, one-woman show at the Manhasset Library. Her paintings have been featured in The Roslyn School of Painting’s Annual Art Show. They have also been a part of the “Juxtaposition” art show in 2020 and the “Art in the Pandemic” show earlier this year, both at the Manhasset Library. Select works have also been published in Emulate Magazine at Smith College. On Nov. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. there will be a reception and an opportunity to meet Sydney Weisman in person.
—With contributions from Manhasset Public Library