GLB: How long have you been making folded paintings?
Susan: I've been developing this form for about 10 years. I went to school for art and have a degree in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and I've always kept a studio. Over time I experimented with many different mediums: oil, watercolor, pencil, stencil and spray paint.
I worked as a textile designer in New York for a long time and that led me to see my paintings as something to create something new out of.
I started working on unstretched canvas, cutting up my paintings and using them to make collages in 2012. At that time I moved from New York to Los Angeles and had a creative breakthrough when I started really experimenting with what I could do as I opened up my process to more dimensional forms.
I use acrylic paint on canvas for all my work. Some people think my work is dyed, and although I think dyed fabric is beautiful, I don’t really know anything about it. I come from a painting background, and consider what I do to be painting for the most part.
GLB: Where do you find inspiration?
Susan: I find a lot of inspiration in haute couture. I love the visceral quality of it, and the way it transforms the body feels very magical and spiritual to me. I also spend a lot of time in nature: walking the hills of Los Angeles, in my garden growing things or in Hawaii swimming in the ocean or hiking in the mountains. My color palette comes very much from nature, from landscape and what the coloring of animals and plants tells us about the world around us.
I’ve also always been very inspired by potent religious objects from all over the world, especially from the South Pacific, Africa, and Asia. I look at a lot of art, and have a spiritual practice that helps me work with my intuition and the information coming through me from beyond my conscious mind.
GLB: What is your favorite piece?
Susan: My favorite piece is usually the newest thing that I'm working on. I think this is true for a lot of artists- we fall in love when we're working. And when I'm very involved with making something that feels new, it becomes the most entrancing thing in the world.
Right now I’m very excited about working with a site specific element in my pieces. I recently painted an alcove or a portal on the wall to create an environment for one of my pieces.
I created this in my studio, then in the gallery at Rhett Baruch for the show I’m currently in called Arcane Passages.
I’m excited about this idea because I think it has so much potential to create a totally unique and captivating installation. I can’t wait to try this in different spaces with different pieces. I think it’s going to be very interesting and unlike anything you’ve seen before. This is work that is made to be seen and experienced.
GLB: Where can we see your work?
Susan: You can see my work at the Rhett Baruch Gallery in Arcane Passages from April 6 to May 6 in Los Angeles.
If you’re in Los Angeles, I do a lot of studio visits and appreciate being able to connect with people face to face. I really love getting to know more about people who visit, and being able to give context to what I do. If you're a collector or a designer or you’re interested in knowing more about what I do, you can book an appointment to visit my studio in DTLA.
In the studio right now I’m working on a series of figurative “obake” (ghost) paintings based on the photographs of a Japanese photographer from the 1930s, and experimenting with painting on the walls. I always have a lot of things in progress that I'm trying in the studio that are fun to share in person.
I also do custom projects, and really enjoy it. Often I work with designers looking for something special for a client or a particular space. It’s inspiring to work with people on a piece with a particular intention in mind and to work within new contexts. Creating a unique piece to celebrate, commemorate or just to bring some color and movement into a space can be such a special experience.