ABOUT THE ARTIST
SIAN PAMPELLONNE is a third-generation artist. Given her formidable artistic lineage, it came as little surprise that Sian would choose to pursue a career path where her innate talents could be put to good use.
Sian’s story begins in the twin-isle state of Trinidad and Tobago, where she was born and lived until the age of five. Her mother immigrated with her two young daughters to Barbados, a country which is now the artist’s home. From her formative years through to her adolescence, Sian’s creative spirit was nurtured and molded by her grandfather, the celebrated Caribbean artist, Gordon Parkinson, who she credits as being her principal mentor. Recalling the countless afternoons spent with her grandfather as his de facto apprentice, Sian said:
“My grandfather taught me to look at the world through the eyes of an artist. This led to numerous fertile and intellectually stimulating discussions. The domain of the artist is one which is filled with a broad spectrum of interconnected colours, fluid shapes and limitless boundaries. Nothing is as it seems. He taught me to use art as a form of self-expression and experimentation in ways which would prove to be cathartic later in life. He instilled in me the tools and techniques which I could use to explore the possibilities of my creative self. Anyone can paint an esthetically pleasing picture but an artist hones those skills needed to paint with emotion. Above all, he taught me that there is no such thing as ‘bad art’”.
Growing up in a creative environment, Sian was always fascinated with the mental characteristics, behaviours and interaction of the people she encountered, particularly the young and curiously enquiring minds of children. This natural curiosity led her to enroll in the University of the West Indies to do a course in Child Psychology. However, despite her interest in psychology, Sian could not envisage herself having a full-time career in that field and on completing the programme, she made the practical decision to switch disciplines. In 1989, she was accepted into the Associates of Arts in Communication Design programme at the International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida. She excelled in her studies and graduated Summa Cum Laude and was made the Valedictorian of her graduating year. On graduating, the perpetual student went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Communication degree – Cum Laude – from the Florida International University. Speaking of her decision to change career paths, Sian explained that:
“Pursuing a degree in Mass Communication, specializing in advertising allowed me to marry my interest in psychology – namely what drives a consumer – with arts and design.”
After completing her studies, Sian spent the next two years living and working in the U.S., firstly as a freelance graphic designer and then as a Production Manager/Creative Director of a printing company in Atlanta. In 1996, she returned to her native Trinidad and took up the post as a graphic designer at an established advertising agency before taking a leap of faith where she opened her own agency, Redhead Designs, a year later.
2004 was a pivotal year in Sian’s life since she decided to relocate to Barbados permanently and open her self-named “Sian In Design” advertising agency next door to her grandfather’s studio. Naturally, being in such close proximity to her mentor meant that Sian also resumed her daily routine of visiting his studio.
On 5th December 2004 Gordon Parkinson died and on his passing, Sian’s passion for painting slipped further into dormancy. Her main focus became building a successful business, one which has serviced some of the most recognizable companies and brands in Barbados and across the region. It was not until 2013 that she would once again be moved to pass her brush across a canvas. Her passion for art could never be quelled and now seldom a week will pass without finding her painting in her expansive home studio.
Throughout her professional career, both as a graphic designer and an artist, Sian has amassed an impressive collection of awards: she has been the recipient of numerous ADDY® awards from the Caribbean Advertising Federation, multiple advertising awards from both the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at FIU and IFAC as well as a Fine Arts bronze award from the National Cultural Foundation to mention but a few.
She continues to work both as a successful graphic designer and a budding artist from her studio located in Barbados. Several of her pieces can be viewed on her website and social media pages (see links below) and also at her studio by appointment.