New York Living with Sideara St. Claire
A self-described maximalist, Sideara St. Claire casts a wide net over the arts. Her creative practice comprises design, acting, and music. She has also made her mark as a social media personality and fashion influencer. Hailing from San Diego—with a stopover in LA—Sideara found a home in NYC, perhaps the only city that can truly match her maximalist tendencies. We sat down with the artist to explore the city through her singular eyes.
View this post on Instagram
How would you describe what you do as an artist?
Sideara St. Claire: I am a maximalist in every area of my life so it’s definitely hard to package it succinctly. I would say, most simply, that I’m an artist. To get into the specifics, one of my main projects currently has been assisting these little interdimensional beings in colonizing Earth. They are very cute and I call them my Little Friends.
I’m also an actress, although my current project has been to support the SAG strike as much as possible. I design accessories and have my own brand, Sideara. Right now, I’m working on a collection of salvaged metallic leather bags. Lastly, I do music but that has been taking the back seat as of late. Something always has to! You can watch my extremely extra music video on Youtube.
What inspires you as an artist?
SSC: It changes constantly, which is probably in some way a gift but often annoying when I need it and am not sure where or how to press that button. Most times, when I’m lacking inspiration, it’s because I’m filling my brain and time with distractions and movement and sound. It’s so easy to fill up every second of the day with distractions and movement and sound but it’s in the discomfort of silence and stillness that you remember what you like about what you’re doing in the first place and thoughts are able to bubble up. I have to remember to make time to dig holes to fill up. Sometimes it comes from an old film, music, a random website I come across, exploring on archive.org, an art book in a friend’s apartment (or my own hoarder collection), the bog on top of the Everlane, a playground, a half scratched-off sticker on the floor of the Subway.
Where do you like to shop?
SSC: Growing up thrifting in San Diego is so incomparably better than thrifting in New York that I honestly do not really bother trying that here. Plus, I am so truly drowning in clothes already. At this point, I am just realistic about it and save for the special indie designer buys and curated vintage gems. (Or at least I try.)
My favorite spots are currently all pretty close to each other. There is Retail Pharmacy, an incredible selection of small designers, super unique beautiful stuff, fun merchandising and concept. It’s a whole vibe in there and Sophia who runs it is the best.
I’m also mesmerized by Lucky Jewel. It’s a collective with its own label and they host a number of amazing designers. For a fancy dress moment, I’ve found luck at Dana Foley, and for your curated vintage needs, Chinatown Mall is a must-visit.
When visiting Chinatown Mall, start with Blodas Choice. I actually shopped from her on Depop about 6 years ago before she had a storefront! All of these places host great events as well, Anna (Bloda’s Choice) almost obsessively has pop-ups running through her store. She mostly hosts her vintage collection but has a cool running selection of indie designers as well. In the same building, you’ll find James Veloria which has a mind-blowing selection of high-end vintage.
View this post on Instagram
Where do you like to go for inspiration?
SSC: I love sitting down in the Elizabeth Street Garden with a notebook and giving myself quiet time to let ideas come to me. I know there are some incredible galleries, theaters, and museums in the city but I honestly totally blow it on that front. I end up going to Mood Fabrics when I need a boost. The Met is always fun but it’s walking around and finding the hole-in-the-wall galleries and shows that end up blowing my mind. Unfortunately, I never remember where I’ve been in those moments. The Cloisters was super fun when I went.
What are your favorite restaurants and bars?
SSC: Testo, Thai Diner, Cafe Gitane, Lil Frankies, The River… I like the parties that pop up in the basements of Little Italy restaurants.
Most aesthetically pleasing NYC locale? And what are you wearing?
SSC: Maybe Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. But if we could time travel back to the Yayoi exhibit where she had all the mirror balls in the water? And I’ll wear this hat. Or St Patrick’s Cathedral and I’ll wear my Magen David and something respectful.
Where do you go when you want some nature?
SSC: I get the fuck out of NYC and go upstate!
Did I miss anything?! What amazing spots must we all go to ASAP?
SSC: Meet me at The Box. (LMAO).
WORDS Hillary Sproul