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Artist Kelsey Tynik

Kelsey Tynik is an interdisciplinary sculptor born in New Jersey. She has spent the last 6 years in Brooklyn and Queens and is now working toward her MFA at The University of Connecticut. She has shown in New York , NY at 601Artspace, In/Passing, and LoBo Gallery. She has shown in Brooklyn, Queens, and Arkansas. Her most recent show is at Ely Center of Contemporary Art in New Haven, CT. Kelsey's most recent press was with The Coastal Post focusing on Aesthetics at Play. Kelsey will attend The Studios at Mass MoCA this summer as an artist-in-residence and Cha North the following.

"As children, we are encouraged to play, explore and fail. As adults that encouragement declines. Instead, we are encouraged to keep busy, interact less, and cast off our fantasy worlds. My work investigates glee and sentimentality realized through material, technique, and play. My work allows the adolescent in us to thrive. It provides fantasy without shame or guilt, and allows us to engage with the present. The exchange between the viewer and the work removes the adult preoccupation with the daily grind and provides a space for make-believe. My work offers a chance for repressed play to overflow and, in turn, gives the opportunity for unification of humanity through experience."

Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.

My name is Kelsey and I am from Northern New Jersey! I have lived in Brooklyn/Queens for the last six years. I recently relocated to Connecticut where I am working toward my masters at The University of Connecticut, my alma mater. I worked in window displays for six years before taking my studio practice full time. I have always been invested in making. I love the ability to take nothing and turn it into something special and unique.

What kind of work are you currently making?

I am currently making soft sculptures that are influenced by my drawing and painting practice. I love the tactility and speed that is involved in every piece. My aim is that they are full of a joyful urgency and play. Through building they turn into a deeper story. They are friendly and welcoming but have a haunted history. They are being hooked, strangled, pressed, or deflated. The mark making is hasty but purposeful. There is a an escape from reality through creativity and play.

The work itself is painted fabric using acrylic, pastels, and ink. They are constructed, often, after being painted however some are constructed before painting. This portion of making is instinctual.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

A day in the studio typically begins with a snack. I like to sit down, look around, and have a snack before beginning any work. For me, this is a helpful way to enter the space. I have copious amounts of coffee and seltzer readily available. Days often look very different. They can range from paining fabric, stuffing pieces, sewing bits together, or installing new and unique ways to hang work in the space. Something that I always make time to do is play and explore. I don’t often listen to music because it encourages a false sense of confidence and when I return the next day I have no idea what I've done. So, I will always pop on a podcast and begin to zone out and explore the materials and what they can do. Some days are simply spent drawings and those days are often very fruitful.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

I recently saw Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life at MoMAPS1 and it was incredible. It encouraged me to keep moving in whatever direction feels right. It also reminded me to play around with all mediums that interest me. Looking at another female artist who used fantasy and play as a way to confront deeper feelings was both moving and gratifying. I just finished IT by Stephen King and recently read Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, M.D.

Where can we find more of your work?

You can find me on Instagram @ktynik and at You can also find two of my miniature sculptures up at The Birdhouse Gallery through August.

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