Susannah's art is bright, colorful and eye catching; the kind of work that immediately transforms the aesthetic of a room. It's hard to believe the Austin native has only been showcasing her art publicly as of recently (including West Elm, Madewell, and Urban Outfitters this coming Sunday,) after nearly a decade of refining her craft.
In preparation of our Laissez Fair Market this weekend where Susannah will be sellig a handful of pieces, we visited her at her quaint little studio in East Austin.
Tell us about yourself… how long have you been painting?
Hmm, I've painted for about ten years now, but not until the last year have I been public about my work. Until now it's been privy to the walls of my home and that's about it.
I became fascinated with oil sticks a while back, they are everything you want finger painting with pastels or crayons to be. You can draw with them like pastels but also blend and shade and create different textures depending on how much you add. In high school for an AP project I made large scale self portraits in different mediums. I just kind of started and couldn't stop. I think my parents still have three or four large five foot giant faces in random closets at their house.
How would you describe your style?
Approachable, simple, and relaxed. The best part about art is how subjective it is. One piece can mean a million different things depending on who is viewing it. I appreciate the classically trained, but I wouldn't want a Rembrandt in my home. I love art and I love museums, but sometimes there can be a pretentious or intimidating air to them. Don't touch, don't talk, don't laugh, don't feel, just look. To me, that's the opposite of what art is suppose to encourage. If you like a piece of art because of the way it makes you feel or the colors or the subject matter that's reason enough.
Where do you pull inspiration from? Are there any other artists that feel like an influence to your aesthetic?
Everyday color palates are a huge inspiration for me. I strangely find that right before bed I get these images of colors and patterns that I want to put on paper. I occasionally make a quick note of it and will use it later on. Now that I think about it, I should probably keep a notepad and some colored pencils near my bed.
I recently did a work study on Matisse- I try and learn about a specific artist and create inspired pieces or renditions. It allows me to flow from one medium to another and never feel stagnant. I get bored too easily. I hate that. I'm going to Nice in September and the Matisse Museum there is on the top of my list. His cut outs are what inspired me to transition from painting to graphic illustrations. I love love love Anna Kovecses, Katherine Plumb, Caroline Walls, Atelier Bingo, Anna Beam to name a few.
Having a creative side hustle can be tough to find time for… do you have a schedule to keep you on track, or how do you best manage your time with painting not being your full time gig?
I find when I have a time crunch I work best. I recently had a website launch party at Madewell and between that and having my work on display at West Elm I knew I needed a certain number of finished pieces. It forces me to focus and tune everything else out.
Favorite album/type of music to listen to while you paint…
Right now? I recently got back from New York where I saw Hamilton, and I've had the soundtrack on repeat for the last few days. I love listening to Johnny Flynn's A Larum album or an old Coltrane record we have.
What can we expect to see at Laissez Fair this weekend?
I'll have a few of my OG smaller acrylic pieces as well as my newer digital prints, a few of which were inspired by Matisse's Cut-Outs.