VH Woman: Suzie
Meet Suzie our newest VH Woman! Suzie is a Melbourne based artist and was kind enough to welcome us into her home and have a chat to us about art, balancing creativity with parenting and tips for those wanting to take the artistic route!
My names Suzie and I live in a North Eastern Suburb of Melbourne with my partner Alex and 2 year old daughter Sienna. We’ve just moved from an inner city suburb and are really enjoying having a bigger outdoor space for Sienna to run around. For the past 10 years I’ve been a Primary School teacher which I loved but for now I’m enjoying being a stay at home Mum with some private tutoring and painting in the mix.
Were you always creative growing up?
Yes and I’ve always loved colour! Paints and craft items were always on my Christmas wish list and I even convinced my parents to let me have each wall of my bedroom painted a different colour when I was a teenager. I also went through a phase of up-cycling and painting furniture.
Was there a particular moment when you realised this could be more than just a hobby?
For me there was just more a realisation that painting and drawing needed to be more of a constant in my life. The more I create the more inspired, connected and happier I feel. I honestly think it's the only time my mind is completely quiet.
What does a 'day in the studio' look like for you?
Oh a day in the studio is the dream.. at the moment my time in the studio is largely a couple of hours here or there and late at night. A positive is that I have found I have become so much more productive with the time I do get. I’ve just got my first designated studio space set up after living with family for a year whilst we found a house to buy. It’s a dream and amazing to not have to pack everything away in-between painting sessions. Having said that it was the packing up of our previous home and moving that prompted me to explore creating digital drawings/art which I now love and has become a huge part of my creative process.
Do you have some 'juggling hot tips' when it comes to trying to create at the same time as looking after your two year old?
If you can, take it outdoors! In the warmer months I set up an easel outside. Sienna adores exploring in the garden - its definitely when I’ve managed the longest paint sessions whilst also looking after her. If we are stuck indoors together I often let her get creative too…but you have to be OK with the mess!
Do you prefer to create on your own terms on your own pieces or working with clients on commissions?
I love the freedom of a piece that I create intuitively or in response to an event or emotion but a commission can be a rewarding challenge and prompt a bit of an adrenaline rush - with a commission I can never relax until I hear the customer connects with and loves the piece though!
Favourite medium? And any that you are eager to try?
Acrylic is my favourite as it’s fast drying and I’m impatient. I also enjoy using oil pastels. I’m eager to play around a little more with ink.
If you could give one piece of advice to an emerging/beginner artist, what would it be?
Say yes before you’re ready, take the time to find your own true style and remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Oops that was 3. Sorry!
Have you got anything exciting in the works for this year?
My main goal this year is to take part in more group exhibitions.
All time favourite colour combo?
Oooh that is hard. I do love earthy tones, I think dusty pink with burnt sienna
If you had to pick one artist, alive or dead, to share a bottle of wine with, who would it be and why?
Frida Kahlo, I find what I’ve read about her intriguing and inspiring. Such fierce determination.
Favourite Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration when you are having a creative block?
@ashleymaryart @alexproba @jumbledonline @rachelcastleandthings @sageandclare @elledecoration_nl @designfiles @fenton_and_fenton and there are so many local Aussie artists I admire and adore.. honestly I could go on and on.. so many pretty things to feast your eyes on.
Podcast? ABC All In The Mind or The Design Files Talk
Book? The Alchemist - Paul Coelho
TV show? Big Little Lies
Define your style in three words?
Bold, Layered, Playful
If you had to describe Variety Hour to a mate what would you say?
Happy, vibrant patterns lovingly designed into the most beautiful, comfortable clothing. You honestly can’t help but smile and feel good when you pop on one of their pieces. But, you’ll want it all!