Crystal Sylver: Interview

Crystal Sylver is a multidisciplinary artist who has studied a broad range of art styles including 3d animation, digital painting and sculpture, oil painting, drawing, stained glass, blown glass, illustration, photography, jewelry design, and fashion design.

Her oil paintings have been featured in many art galleries throughout northern and southern California. And her clothing line, Funk Divine was awarded “Best Graphic Tees, 2008” by San Francisco Magazine.


Crystal Sylver - Geisha of the Golden Phoenix - Oil Painting on Wood - Contemporary Art“Geisha of the Golden Phoenix” –  Oil on Wood, 18″x18″ circle – 2010

Hi, Crystal! Will you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Crystal and I live for art.  I studied several different forms of traditional art for many years, from oil painting and illustration to jewelry design and stained glass.  Most recently, I received a degree in Computer Animation and I’m creating medical animations for a company.  I turned my back on computer arts for a long time because I didn’t consider it real art, but once I started making art on the computer I became hooked.  Now I just view it as another medium, and a huge part of our future.  And my traditional arts background has given me a good foundation to work from.  As long as I’m creating something I feel content.

Jelly Skull - Digital Painting by Crystal Sylver“Jelly Skull” – Digital Painting & Photography,
made using software Corel Painter and Photoshop – 2013

What does art mean to you?

I consider art a sport and artists athletes.  Like an athlete, an artist must practice and train constantly in order to improve his/her skills, and like an athlete, an artist usually works on his/her craft daily and for long periods of time.  If I’m not working on an art project, I’m thinking about an art project or I’m learning a new form of art.  Making art is just critical thinking and often a solitary process as opposed to a physically active one.

Crystal_Sylver_Portrait-of-David_beautiful-bizarre“Portrait of David” – Digital Painting, made using software Corel Painter – 2014

You make digital sculptures, 3D animations, digital paintings, oil paintings, and clothing. Do you spend the same amount of time on all of those media?

I spend a lot of time in each medium.  Usually I have two or three projects going on at the same time, in constant rotation.  I can get burnt out by something and then want to start working on a new project.

Crystal Sylver - Digital Sculpture (front), made using software ZBrush - 2013Digital Sculpture (front), made using software ZBrush  – 2013

What’s your typical working process?

Often when I begin working on a new project, I’m already on to the next project in my head.  I need to constantly challenge myself or I feel anxious.  I think that’s why I make art in so many different mediums!  For instance I’ve been oil painting on and off since 2003.  I took a break in 2012 after I did a show at 111 Minna Gallery because I was burnt out and I just wanted to focus on my studies in college.  Last year I took several anatomy classes and my recent work reflects that.  I’ve been doing more photorealism.  But I prefer highly stylized art.  I think it’s more imaginative and expressive.

Crystal Sylver - Digital Sculpture (back), made using software ZBrush- 2013Digital Sculpture (back), made using software ZBrush – 2013

What inspire your works?

I used to be obsessively inspired by the art deco artist Erte.  We had an Erte art book on our coffee table when I was growing up and I looked at it all the time.  I love decadent art.  Art with lots of detail, patterns, beautiful women, colorful flowers, exaggerated hair, clothing, and jewels.  I’m very inspired by fashion as well.  Couture, Avant-garde, and Goth fashion.  Since studying animation I’ve been really inspired by doll design, movement in the human body, cloth and animals, and facial expressions.  Animation is more about bringing a static piece to life and I’m very inspired by that.

Crystal Sylver - "The Geisha of the Albino Phoenix" Oil on Wood, 18"x18" circle- 2011“The Geisha of the Albino Phoenix” – Oil on Wood, 18″x18″ circle – 2011

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m creating digital paintings but I’ve been missing the smell and feel of real paint so I might start that up again.  I started my clothing line, Funk Divine, in 2005 and I still sell clothing but I haven’t designed anything new for Funk Divine since 2009.

Funk Divine by Crystal Sylver

It was nice talking with you, Crystal! And thanks for sharing your works with us.

To see more of Crystal Sylver’s works, please visit her website
Be sure to check her impressive 3D animation demo reel out as well.

Crystal_Sylver_Geisha-Blanco_painting_beautiful-bizarre“Geisha Blanco”  Oil on Canvas, 18″x24″- 2009
Crystal_Sylver_Portrait-of-the-artist-Karina-Figueroa_beautiful-bizarre“Portrait of the Artist Karina Figueroa” Digital Painting, made using software Corel Painter – 2014
Crystal Sylver - "Birds of Death" Oil, Encaustic Wax, Metallic Powder on Wood, 24"x24" circle - 2011“Birds of Death”  Oil, Encaustic Wax, Metallic Powder on Wood, 24″x24″ circle – 2011
Crystal Sylver - "An Ode to Salvador Dali's Human Skull" Oil on Wood, 36"x36" circle - 2011“An Ode to Salvador Dali’s Human Skull”  Oil on Wood, 36″x36″ circle – 2011

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