By Kristy Locklin
Sydney Davis is an artist who wears her heart on her sleeve and her nipple on her hat.
The 25-year-old South Side resident is the founder of NipLids, a business featuring caps and other accessories she decorates using her paint-covered breast.
“It was a random idea and I just did it,” she says. “Nobody knew what it was. Is it an eyeball? A skull? A ghost? You don’t have to know what it is to appreciate it. That validated the artistry to me. It doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t have to be pretty. I’m kind of love with that imperfection.”
Davis, who recently left a career in finance to pursue her artistic passion, came up with the idea during a modeling shoot in Florida where her full body prints were incorporated into a mural.
Feeling empowered by the project, she wanted to create something that, inspires women, celebrates femininity and takes the taboo out of the word “nipple.” She’s sold nearly 200 one-of-a-kind NipLids through her website, www.msprint.art, and at pop-up shops held throughout the city.
“If you’re having a bad hair day you can wear it and support something you believe in, whether it’s a sports team or a charity,” she says.
During a pop-up sale, Davis spoke with a breast cancer survivor who had to have one of her nipples removed. She was inspired by the artwork and wished she had made her own masterpiece before the surgery.
Davis hopes to host a NipLids workshop that will allow people to do just that.
In the meantime, she’s working to expand her product line (different body parts on different articles of clothing) and collaborate with other artists and organizations.
To promote Breast Feeding Awareness Week, she joined forces with musical artist LJiggy to create a T-shirt collection. “Liquid Gold” was spelled out using golden nipple prints. A portion of the sale of each shirt went to the Black Breastfeeding Group of Pittsburgh.
On Oct. 4, NipLids will be set up at Homestead First Fridays.
“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” she says. “There’s definitely going to be a lot of pinks and a lot of hats.”