Interview: Sendra Uebele
Conducted June 2016
Issue No. 12 – June 2016
Sendra Uebele is a talent beyond her age. Although only seventeen, and still just a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, her paintings and sketchbook creations have already drawn admiring eyes on Instagram. We reached out to Sendra to learn more about her inspirations and the woman-centered power of her art.
BUFFALO ALMANACK: What children’s book illustrators had an impact on you when you were little?
SENDRA UEBELE: I loved Crockett Johnson as a kid (The illustrator and author of Harold and the Purple Crayon), his stories and illustrations were just so magical. I felt a kinship to his characters as someone who loved to draw and imagine. I also loved illustrations from old fairytale books, and being able to see the variety of visual presentations of different stories.
BA: How have digital communities on Instagram, Tumblr etc. affected your understanding of contemporary art? Or you as an artist?
SU: I think that social media is very important for the contemporary art world. I feel that I can learn a lot more about art by following artists I like and actually seeing their processes, and inspirations. I think that it helps make not only art more accessible, but also the artist. There are also great platforms, like @paintguide on instagram, where a community of contemporary artists share their favorite artists. I think that social media has made me a more well rounded artist.
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BA: What cliches about young artists frustrate you the most?
SU: I think the cliche about young artists that frustrates me the most is that we make art arbitrarily. The art that we as young people are making are full of thought, determination, and often political charge. Young artists are more often than not well researched and thoughtful, and I think that they should be given credit where credit is due.
BA: Can you talk about your involvement with Rookie Mag? How did you come to illustrate for it?
SU: I work with Rookiemag on a monthly basis doing illustrations for a wide range of things, like short stories, essays, book excerpts, etc. I’ve also had my own sketchbook work featured in a visual gallery. I began working with them after Tavi Gevinson reached out to me via instagram, saying they’d seen my art posted and that they liked my work and wondered if I’d be interested.
BA: What does femininity in art mean to you? How do you channel feminism as a creative energy?
SU: I think that as a feminine woman, femininity in art is something I heavily relate to. I think that seeing femininity portrayed in art is important, as well as feminist values, because art history has been so heavily dominated by men. Making feminine, and feminist art is what helps create authentic representations of women. I channel feminism as a form of inspiration because it’s a cause I care about, and I think art is more powerful when it’s about something.