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Published January 31, 2023

Play & Purpose: Kelsey Tynik's Studio Spotlight

By Kate Parvenski

Kate is the Director of Content for Testudo and a Brooklyn-based multimedia producer with a passion for art and storytelling. Her work focuses on documenting and showcasing artists working across a variety of mediums.

Kelsey Tynik is an interdisciplinary sculptor who has exhibited in New York, Connecticut, Arkansas, Texas, and California. She most recently exhibited at Collar Works (NY), Hesse Flatow (NY), Ely Center of Contemporary Art (CT), and JEFF (TX). She has been an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA, Arts, Letters, Numbers, ChaNorth, and Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been featured in Hyperallergic, Artforum, create! Magazine, The Coastal Post, and I Like Your Work.

After several years working as a window display artist in the fashion industry, Kelsey Tynik left the corporate world to focus full-time on her studio practice. Working from a small Queens apartment, Kelsey was at first resistant to moving into three-dimensional work: “I was strictly painting,” she explained. “I was really avoiding sculpture.” But gradually she began to incorporate different materials, and her practice expanded.

Now an MFA candidate at UConn, Kelsey builds large-scale sculptures using fabric and wood. Through material, technique, and an approach informed by automatic drawing and writing, Kelsey’s interdisciplinary work investigates glee, sentimentality, and play. Through intentional decision-making, intuition, and risk taking, Kelsey uses a loose approach, letting the medium dictate her process. “It's playful work, so I'm playing,” she describes, “but it's so much more than that.”

We visited Kelsey in her Mansfield, Connecticut studio to learn more about her practice and the importance of play and purpose in her studio. 

Image Credit: Kate Parvenski
Play is so important because we lose it so easily as adults. Especially as a woman, the idea of play seems super frivolous and a very easy thing to dismiss. I’m playing by means of risk-taking, trusting my intuition, and having a set of parameters or an idea to focus on. It’s not a willy-nilly sense of play. It’s decision making.
Kelsey Tynik, The Most Important Things are the Hardest Things to Say, 2021.

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