Fresh off her show at the iconic Montauk Beach House and receiving a fabulous shoutout on “And Just Like That” (she was said to be “discovered” by the fictional character, Charlotte York-Goldenblatt), contemporary artist Sonya Sklaroff not slowing down anytime soon. In the vibrant world of contemporary art, few artists possess the ability to captivate viewers with a kaleidoscope of colors and evoke a emotional response quite like Sonya Sklaroff. Renowned for her unique vision and use of color, Sklaroff’s work has earned her a dedicated following and critical acclaim in the art community; with her recent mention in the “Sex and the City” franchise, she’s earned a place in pop culture as well. Sklaroff most recently celebrated “ Sonya Sklaroff: Select Works”, a collection of some of Sonya’s most interesting and intricate pieces including pieces from her Secrets of New York exhibition and Love Letter to New York City exhibition. Additionally, she completed her second solo show at the Algonquin this past spring, and can be seen on LinkNYC Kiosks around the city. Pop Style TV’s Lauren Conlin chatted with the artist about her work, inspirations, and what’s next.
Lauren: How did you choose the pieces for “A Love Letter to New York City”
Sonya: The oil paintings, sketches, and watercolors included in my “Love Letter” series were created towards the latter part of the pandemic when the world was beginning to reopen. I could feel the sense of hope and optimism in the air and I wanted to recreate those experiences of joy and rebirth. Each piece is a heartfelt tribute to the resilience of New York City, celebrating its unwavering spirit.
Lauren: What inspires you to make art?
Sonya: I draw inspiration from moments that spontaneously catch my eye —an alluring pocket garden nestled within the bustling city, the dance of light caressing a building’s façade, water towers silhouetted against a vibrant sunset sky. These captivating scenes become the seeds of my artistic vision, evolving into visual poems on canvas. Through my paintings, I aim to reveal the hidden beauty in the ordinary moments of everyday life, inviting people to admire and appreciate the subtle details that surround us.
Lauren: Do you have a favorite piece in general?
Sonya: One of my favorites is a piece I recently completed for my one woman show “Secrets of New York”. It depicts a colorful patterned bathroom where a woman is showering in the daytime. The bathroom window overlooks Central Park and its lake, with the San Remo towers in the distance and a rowboat in view. The woman’s naked body is partially obstructed by the striped shower curtain, and she is obscured by the water flowing from the shower head. Also in view is another person’s hand resting on this woman’s hip, subtly suggesting that she is not alone. I’m proud of this piece because it represents a new method of working. I recreated a plein air watercolor painting that I completed on site of the same Central Park view and painted it into the window of this painting. The memory of a friend’s bathroom that I visited on the upper east side was my inspiration for the composition. I tapped into my imagination for the colors and patterns and artwork hanging in the bathroom. And a friend modeled for me so that I could figure out the correct anatomical proportions of the woman’s body and her shower companion’s hand. This exciting new way of working involves fusing memories, imagination, real-life experiences, and previous painting inspirations to create a narrative-rich and emotionally charged painting. I look forward to continuing this approach in my future work.
Lauren: What inspires which colors or textures you use in a piece?
Sonya: Colors and textures are crucial in my work. For snow scenes, I use an impasto method (thick paint) to create rich texture. The colors vary based on time of day and mood: cool hues for moonlit nights, vibrant colors for sunny springtime afternoons, and muted tones for a more somber feeling. Each choice breathes life into my art, offering a unique visual experience that captures the essence of the moment.
Lauren: Who is your favorite artist?
Sonya: I’m inspired by artists who draw from their unique experiences in their work. Some of my favorites include Faith Ringgold for her autobiographical vision, Chaim Soutine for his rich paint application and skewed perspectives, Chuck Connelly for the way he taps into his imagination, Kathe Kollwitz for her emotional interpretations, Edouard Vuillard for his poignant recreations of daily life, and Philemona Williamson for her beautiful color combinations.
Lauren: What’s coming up for Sonya?
Sonya: Having achieved two successful solo shows this year, one at the renowned Algonquin in New York City and the other at the iconic Montauk Beach House, I am back in my studio, inspired to begin a new body of work. The possibilities are limitless, and I am excited to witness my evolution as an artist as I embrace growth, push boundaries, and explore innovative methods and techniques.
Follow Sonya and her work on instagram @sonyaskarloff, or visit www.sonyaskarloff.com
ABOUT SONYA SKLAROFF
Sonya Skarloff is a Contemporary American painter who lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from Parsons School of Design. Skarloff has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions in the US and abroad. Her work may be found in public and private collections around the world. Her paintings have been featured twice on LinkNYC’s 4000 digital kiosks in all five boroughs, and again this spring, LinkNYC will be displaying seven of Sklaroff’s colorful paintings of New York City from May 1-14 . These paintings highlight the joy and celebration of new life in the city. Several of these works will be included in the Algonquin exhibition and are also featured in Sklaroff’s new color exhibition catalogue.