Art is something that you will always see, but you never really know the person who is behind it. It is up to the artist to make the artwork stand out on its own. And every young artist is trying to prove themselves to do just that.
Who are you, where are you from?
T: My name is Tra Reed but I mainly go Mortem Sinclair (I used to go by TRACY REED). I do neo-expressionism. I’m in my late teens and I’m from New York.
Why did you stop going by TRACY REED?
T: I wasn’t too fond of the name. Tracy is my dad’s name and my name is like a shortened version of that so I thought it’d be cute, but over time I stopped liking it.
How do you get the names that you often go by?
T: The name TRACY REED was more of a temporary alias if anything. The name Mortem Sinclair is cool because it actually means something. ‘Mort’ is the root word for death, so Mortem is just death. Then ‘Sinclair’ means bright, usually, when I hear the name I think of elegance or high power. In short, it’s like ‘death bright’; it’s what I aim to have. I don’t just want to have a funeral and die, I want my wealth to be distributed to the people close to me and have it as a positive experience.
How often do you change your name?
T: Now, I’ve only changed it twice, but maybe I’ll find something else to go by. If I find a new nickname I will most likely stick to that if it sounds nice.
Like how many people learn to draw, it is through trial and error. Looking at Sinclair’s artwork one may be confused as to what they are looking at. It is mostly figures drawn in pen on some regular lined paper, being used as practice. His style may not be for everyone, but it works for him.
How long have you been drawing and doing graphics?
T: I never really took it seriously until late 2016-2017 which is when I started documenting what I’d made and trying to preserve it. With graphics that’s kind of like my side thing. I don’t like the digital work as much as the traditional work because sometimes it doesn’t translate well on a screen.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
T: Ralph Steadman, who I really wear on my sleeve, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Sinclair being in his adolescent years, switching back and forth between the moods of wanting to keep going or picking up a new skill is normal. The urge to quit is prevalent for most of the time. He quits and restarts almost every other week. Once an artist came to him for some cover art, he became overwhelmed because nothing was to his standard. Shortly after that, a hiatus was taken.
What keeps you motivated?
T: The people around me. I have a few friends who also do art and I love seeing what they’re doing and supporting them and vice versa. My mom has always paired me and drawing together. She always expects me to draw a card for her when Mother’s Day or her birthday comes around. I haven’t shown her my recent stuff yet but what I do show her she likes to keep because she says, “when you become famous I want to be able to sell what you had before the fame”.
What inspires your drawings?
T: All my inspiration draws from when I see other young people prospering. I think like 99.9999 percent of what I do is girls and relationships. I love drawing girls. I eat that shit up. They’re so cute, but when we’re romantically involved, the drawings post-honeymoon portrait phase aren’t so cute. I like cartoons and video game characters so I sprinkle referenced to those in my stuff sometimes to give it a more lighthearted nostalgic feel.
Who is the person that you miss when you write “I miss you” on your drawings?
T: I don’t remember myself actually. Probably about some lust relationship I had. Cute drawing though, I want to remake it.
Like most teenage boys his world kind of revolves around girls and his passion. Girls are a constant theme in his artwork. He uses the song ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ by Mötley Crüe showing that girls are his favorite inspirations. Being with a girl for him provides him with so many thoughts on the daily; he is drawing all the time. Though he mostly is inspired by the girls that he comes in contact with, in most of his work you see the themes of bleakness and isolation.
How do you wish to get better with your art?
T: On the side, I’m trying to get better with anatomy so I could start doing different poses and add more variety to things.
Would you want to change the style of art that you do?
T: I’d love to get into painting or graffiti. I’ve painted maybe twice in my entire life. I don’t think its right for me right now. Graffiti is cool and I like the scene around it, but it is very risky; and expensive to keep buying spray bottles.
Who do you want your art to reach?
T: I want my art to reach melodramatic teenagers. That’s who I really draw for, me and people like me.
What is your wildest dream?
T: I want to be able to have a mansion with my discography and all over the hallway walls.
What is next for you?
T: By this year I want to get into designing logos or doing t-shirt designs for people, something commercial. Something that earns me revenue so I can buy more materials for the art I actually want to do, right now I want to celebrate my first interview. I actually digitized a ton of stuff from concept art and b-sides and I want to release it publicly!
Like any artist, Sinclair is putting all of himself into his work. Seeing the way that we will grow will be nothing less than an exciting journey. He has plans that keep him doing art forever; rather it is graffiti, graphics or drawing. He may have a piece that you would want in your house sometime soon. If you would like to find out more about Sinclair, you can follow on his Twitter.