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Rising Stars: Meet Syd Linkletter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Syd Linkletter. 

Hi Syd, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I started the same way everybody does, deciding whether to spend my summer money as a 17-year-old on 3 months of dance class or my first laptop. I went to a free dance class, almost knocked over my teacher when she tried to help me do a handstand, and decided the better choice, unbeknownst to me at the time, was to fall in love with Attack On Titan, slide through an emo phase several years late, start taking my art seriously and buy a little graphics tablet to start drawing digitally, join a local theater and film company where I learned many life lessons, not least of which was how to say “No.” to people, meet my love whom shows up in my art regularly, continued to pursue my art, take part in local 48hr film projects, commissions of all kinds like tattoos, t-shirt designs, fanart, and then more “legitimate gigs” like designing the label for Luna Rossa’s Road Runner Red, which has won national awards, file design for Rio Grande Jewelry for 3D printing and casting in silver, creating the logo for IDED (International District of Economic Development) of New Mexico, and T-shirt design for New Game Plus of New Mexico, to name a few personal projects like the gallery show I held right before the pandemic hit the United States, too much commission work that made me hate art for a while, get depressed during 2020 and take a break from art, come back to it realizing I needed to stop doing commission work cause it stressed me out too much, and now I currently work a full time job at night, in 12 hour shifts, at a factory, also working on my new zine called Vamptober 2021, set to release this year, and a still in early production stage pilot storytelling show with handmade puppets, whilst using my night job money to pursue those things as well as my Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design. Totally run-of-the-mill career path in a nutshell. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I would say realizing I became depressed last year in 2020 would be a big one. I kept getting sick and it was debilitating on both my mind and body, and I felt so much pressure from the project I was working on that had endless revisions. I had to take a long time away from drawing and doing art in general before I could come back around to it without feeling anxiety and panic creeping in, and even then, I took up bookmaking by hand rather than illustration or graphic design. 

Ultimately, I want to come back to and finish the project that gave me so much grief, but I still don’t know when I would feel ready to face all those stressed feelings from that one in particular. 

There’s of course been other struggles, getting and keeping money sustainably being another big one, and being a main reason I have a night job now. The art comes easy a lot of the time, it’s the business side of things that’s the hard part. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m an illustrator and graphic designer, but I tend to incorporate a lot of other creative mediums into it. Sculpture, bookmaking, film, and a spattering of writing and animation. 

I love to dig my teeth into esoteric ideas and dredge up old defunct media. I joke that if it’s dead and no one cares about it that it’s on-brand, and so I more than dabble in art necromancy. 

I’m known for pop art images, comic styles, cartoon styles, strong color choices, and themes, dark, cute, and humorous at the same time if I can manage it. I also put a lot of effort into giving great service. Any time I have a client or anybody with eyes on or around my business I make sure to give as good and experience as I can. I want everyone regardless of income to be able to afford nice art, and so my prices have suffered for it, but it’s something I believe in. 

I’m proud of the people who take what I give them and turn it into something more by power of community. 

I’m proud when I see one of my designs on a t-shirt for a small company, or on a wine that regularly sells out because of the striking image that catches people’s eye. I take pride in a clean and easy-to-read picture that sticks with you, the chase and hopeful ensnarement of something iconic. 

I think something that sets me apart from others is that I rarely chase trends, I’m hipster I guess, but I can say it comes from a genuine desire to make something that wouldn’t otherwise be cool cool. I would rather become invested in some obscure tv show from 30 years ago and get excited to make fanart for it instead of trying to up my Instagram followers by drawing iron-man. No dis to iron-man though. It’s a double-edged sword though because I want too much to do something so outside of the box that it doesn’t even follow the instructions of the project anymore. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
It may sound cheesy depending on who hears it but, family, love, and real support from people who care. And also, to save your working files regularly, have backups, and high-resolution copies in several export formats in case you need to change something. Organize too. And remember to take care of yourself and take breaks, and take time being a person instead of a work machine. Remember to respect yourself and others, and don’t let other people live your life for you. 

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