Wednesday, October 28, 2020
A young artist playing with a full deck
By Evan Barnes (Staff Writer)
Published July 16, 2009

Sydney James

Local painter/visual artist Sydney James tells a story with her work. It’s a story of a young, creative woman making her presence known in the Los Angeles art scene.

Originally from Detroit, James, 30, came to California with the hopes of selling a cartoon she created. Prior to the move, she worked an advertising director for art firm for a few years.

Upon her arrival, she tried to sell her cartoon but eventually found work on the ABC Family show “Lincoln Heights” as its resident artist, drawing all the artwork for lead character Cassie Sutton.


Her love of art when she began drawing at 3 years old. In kindergarten, her art teacher recognized her gifts and told her parents to enroll her in art school. By 7, she already knew where she’d go to college – The College for Creative Studies.

“When I started painting, I started as a fine art painter who painted celebrities, almost like caricatures with a serious painting style,” she said.

James is having a show at the Sanctuary Boutique Art Gallery at 5372 W. Pico Blvd. The show, on display until August 3, will feature her latest work “Full Deck” a series of 10 cards representing the kings and queens of various music genres.

“I came up with this idea with a friend to do of mine a deck of cards to crown the already crowned,” she said.

Standing five feet tall, the king cards are James Brown, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and a double-sided one with Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. The queen cards are Aretha Franklin, Mary J Blige, Madonna and Elton John. Completing the set is Public Enemy hypeman and reality show star Flavor Flav as the Joker.

James, who resides in Inglewood, said that she has plans to expand the “Full Deck” and already has a vision for the Jack cards at her next show.

On Saturday, she’ll be a part of a meet and greet at her showcase from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information, visit her website at

Categories: Exclusive (Entertainment)

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