Printing Money

07/01/2022 12:50 AM By Lisa Anderson
Teddy Sykes
Teddy Sykes
Story Sponsored by Locala in Conjunction with Couch Sessions

Printing Money

Artist-in-Residence Gives Back

Teddy Sykes (34) is a business application programmer and IT specialist, but he is mostly known for his art and his role at Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO). As an adult, his first big debut in the art world was during the very first season of Couch Sessions. However, his love for art and computer games started in his childhood.

“I’ve always been super keen on art. Even as a kid, I was always doodling,” states Teddy. He was also quite mesmerized by computer games. “I was a huge nerd as a kid. I played card games all the time—all the collectors’ cards, Pokemon, all that junk. I was on the computer 24/7 playing video games.

“I remember the first art award I won in first grade. The Unique Award is what they called it. I remember very specifically we had to do something unique, and I did a cactus Christmas tree,” he chuckles. “That was super cool. My mom especially loved it and encouraged it. That was kind of the kick-off of art and music for me.”
Teddy went on to win more awards and submit is work to as many competitions as he could. “Every opportunity past fourth grade that I could take an art class in school, I did.”

He was in middle school the first time he submitted his work for FAFO. “They have the big student section. I had something in FAFO, which is kind of full circle now, because I’m on the board of FAFO. So, I get to kind of help foster that for kids now, which is super cool.”

He took art very seriously in high school after an art teacher encouraged him to do so. When it came time to decide on a career, it was really a toss up between something in computers or art. Computers won, and art took a backseat until his mid-twenties.

He dabbled in black and white illustration and watercolor, and now he primarily paints acrylic portraits. “I’m sort of a full-time artist. [My job] pays for bills; the other pays for pizza and beer.”

His art journey has been an upward spiral since he picked it back up again. “As I did more art, I got better at it and people started noticing. Then, people started wanting art from me,” and they were willing to pay. “I feel incredibly privileged, as an artist, because I feel like I get to print money.”

Teddy is a full-time resident at the Magnolia Art Exchange. His primary role as a board member of FAFO is leading the Emerging Artist program—a program that helps artists take their first leap into a festival.
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Story Sponsored by Locala in Conjunction with Couch Sessions
Couch Session 2022 Series