CountyAnne Arundel County
Artist StatementContemplations of moments past and present find visual expression in my work. I enjoy my time outdoors and appreciate the natural world. One of the best things about being an artist is the excuse to become fascinated with the details of nature, be it the effects of light through an ocean wave or the twists and turns of branch or how trees look in the early morning darkness. Contemporary to each of these details, of these mesmerizing moments, lie countless others and all human experience is made of these timeless instants. The medium – colored papers and newspaper – are essential. It is a tactile expression of color, texture and pattern. I am inspired by the simplicity of the shapes that I can create by ripping it. Paper allows me to deliberate over the placement of the colors and the shapes of the colors that form the piece. I’ve been collecting old papers and books for over a decade. What is most appealing about them is not just what was considered news worthy in that era but the creative style of the ads. Handmade papers bring in the natural elements and appeal to my sense of beauty. The pressed flowers, foliage and seaweed I include in my collages are the news clippings of the natural world’s past. My process for developing a concept is as deliberate as the process for making it. It starts with a mental snap shot of a landscape that gives me a feeling a moment whose color and texture stir me to contemplation or reminiscence. As I begin to work, I will look through old newspapers to read the small stories of some random day of the past. As I read about the people and what was important to them, I see that those same things are what is important to us now, in this moment.
Susan was born in Maryland and moved around a bit in her early childhood. These moves and her introspective nature often led her to spend time on her own exploring both her creativity and the natural world, cultivating two loves that have persisted throughout her life. Out of her love of nature grew another love- one of horses. She spent a summer taking classes at Schuler’s School of Fine Art before going to school at VCU’s school of fine art. She received a BFA in Communication Art and Design with an emphasis on illustration supplementing her degree with many courses in oil painting. This was a season of great creative emphasis. When not working on assignments, Susan spent her free time creatively, including making small collage postcards to send to her long distance sweetheart using fliers and paper found on campus. Postcards led to bigger projects and at one point, a collage took up an entire wall in the studio. In giving herself over to school, Susan found she had no time for horses and reluctantly put that passion aside. After graduating, Susan pursued her illustration career; successfully joining the multimedia world. While never liking making work on a computer, she found it essential to making a living. As many artists have discovered before her, she found that making a living with art provided little opportunity to find a voice for her personal creativity. To satiate her creative appetite and love of texture, Susan took up handspinning fiber into yarn. Handspinning led her to discover angora rabbits, an animal whose temperament is much like that of a horse. Like horses was not enough and, missing the company and creative energy inspired by horses, she began working part time at Bowie Racetrack exercising thoroughbreds. In 2002, fed up with the world of software and internet design, she landed a job at a local manufacturer of kites and garden products. This was much more to her creative liking and her energies flourished. Even with two jobs she was spinning yarn, painting kites, needle felting sweaters, and had even started to dabble with collages again. During this time, she won several national awards as a master kite maker and was asked to teach creative classes at retreats for kite enthusiasts. In 1997, Susan had bought a riverside bungalow built in 1933. During early renovations, she found newspapers from that period had been uses as insulation. Fascinated by these glimpses into an earlier world, she saved the fragile pieces of paper in a box in her studio. When she stumbled on them several years later, they crumbled, inspiring her to search out more. What started as curiosity became a storm of creative inspiration when she found San Francisco newspapers written for the Japanese population. For years she’d been buying handmade papers from the local art store, Art Things, because they were such pretty colors and thought someday she’d make a collage. Suddenly all of her interests began to coalesce into a single vision. She combined her collection of art papers with The New World Daily News to create a paper kite. The image of a peacock was pleasing but paper was too heavy for a kite. Though initially disappointed, another of her outdoor adventures came to her aid. She recalled the wax used on snowboards and used it to coat the surface of cardboard and some canvases. She found that she could then build and peel lighter collages from the waxed surface and her process was born. The first person outside of friends and family to see her work was Claudia at the Sea Tree Gallery in Nags Head, NC. Claudia gave her work such praise that encouraged; Susan pursued framing the collages as kites. Jim Cosca, noted kite builder and pinnacle of the kite community agreed to help frame the kites in the tradition of the Japanese Buka Dako, thus adding another dimension to the work. Collages framed in this way show differently when lighted from the front or back or both. This is an important element in quality kite design. In November of 2008 Susan adopted and rehabilitated the horse of her dreams, an injured thoroughbred named Misty’s Hope, better known as Pie. Finally, with all of her creative inspirations present in her life, she was off and running.