How are you today Suzi?
I'm good. I just had my hair done so I'm happy. (I'm a Leo. I am nothing without a mane of hair).
Are you working on any special projects at the time of this interview?
After this interview I am scanning in the final sketches for a line of art stamps I am designing.
Then onto filming a few free journal video classes. But thee BIG project is the sequel to Goddess & The Poet. Its called PIETY AND PASSION. But its a secret. I can't talk about it yet.
So what brought you to this point in life with your Art?
I do the next thing that is in front of me and I don't think about it. That is the only way I can describe how I got to the place where Im living my dreams - making art everyday and getting paid for it. I don't do anything that I don't want to do and that is my best advice. Focus on what you truly love and put all of your energy towards that. Anything that comes your way that has to do with furthering you to your dream goal DO IT. Don't question, "Oh, but can I?" Do it. And if it sucks, do it again until it doesn't. Then go onto the next thing.
What’s a typical day with Suzi like?
My boyfriend should be answering this ha! If you ask me I am not much fun to be around. I have a lot of projects and my day is split up into priorities. Whatever is pressing gets done and everything that is not urgent today doesn't, unless I have extra time and feel up to it. So today that means the stamps have to be finished. Have to. It is also Critique day at my school so whatever else I might have planned, videos, new classes, laundry, none of it will be touched until after I have given full attention to my students work and helped them as much as possible. Then I go on to the next thing on my list. Today that means an art journal video that will take a few days to make so I can fit other things in too, like walking on the beach or going to a bookstore. Because I document my life in my videos I get to do fun things while I'm working because its all part of the whole. But usually, Im hunched over somewhere either editing or getting messy in the art room, eating dinner my sweetheart makes for me, then passing out at 11:00 either watching a movie or playing Paradise Quest on my iPhone.
What types of things motivate you to create?
I could never not create. Something inside of me is unable to do normal things for the majority of the day. Its on a cellular level that's all I can say. DNA. I am incapable of doing anything else because its in my blood, at my very core, I have to express and play and experiment and that is all I want to do. I am quite stubborn and selfish. I take it very seriously that this is 'my life'. I don't waste it. If what I want to do is drip inks onto oil pastels then I will do it. I am in control of my life. At the beginning that meant giving up a lot of things and I was very poor for a long time without any security. I had a lot of problems because of that but in essence I was happy. That is the power or creating. Be it a song or a doodle, its magical and keeps me doing it.
Talk to us about your Art Journal Playshops. These Playshops have not only Art but Inspirational Messages.
This is my philosophy when it comes to dealing with people: whether you are a banker or waitress or financial advisor or art teacher, it is all about giving and receiving love. Getting people to love themselves is what is really going on and the way to do that first is by giving them love. Create a safe place for people and watch them grow. If you are doing something just for the money your customer will feel let down. Put love into it. Make them feel great and watch the results. Encourage people to be the best they can be. That is what is needed before you can even think about teaching or selling them something. Open your heart and then they will open theirs. Then magic can be let it. So when it comes to art I am not going to teach you something if first I don't make sure you are ready to learn. If you tell yourself, "Oh, I can't draw a line. I suck." Then my time is wasted because you aren't going to pay attention to the techniques I show you. My job as a teacher is to make sure you first feel worthy and KNOW you have the right to make your mark, whatever mark that is. Only then will you be able to learn.
Your Art is full of wonderful pictures of soft yet powerful female faces with a distinctive style. Talk to us about that.
Faces interest me. I cannot have an abstract painting without a figure in it. I don't want to paint like that. Art for me is about tapping into the spiritual. Painting is highly spiritual for me and is my church. The figures I create are born from that and are extensions of my feelings about what is god, love, whatever that thing that spirituality is. My paintings are usually not narrative, they tell no story. Rather they are company. Faces staring back at me telling me it is ok, they understand, that there is more to see. They remind me of spirit when I look at them. I think that's what prompts me to create them.
What is the Art Skool Underground about? Can we talk about it?
If you have been to any formal art class then you know how it feels - stiff. Hard chairs, fluorescent lighting, it feels defeatist before you ever put pencil to paper. Even in 101 classes in a Community College teachers promote competition. If you don't come in with natural ability then you are discouraged to continue. I asked my teacher if I could be a 'real' artist and she said I don't think so. She said I worked hard though so you never know. There is a lie that is being spread in the art world, perpetuated by the people in it. I say Art 'Skool', purposely spelled wrong because I want people to know off the bat that mistakes and being a beginner are allowed. Not only allowed they are encouraged. Case in point, I was so excited when I created my first online class, and hurried to make it's content, that I did not proofread pdf's before I posted them. I spent hours making them visually striking and the words meaningful, I did not care about the spelling.
And well, there were a lot of mistakes in there. No one cared. They laughed and cried and it was the content that mattered. They said it felt like a note from a good friend and in notes spelling doesn't count. That is the informal and emotional environment I want in my classes.
How you feels matter more than what you do. And it's easier to do things in a space that isn't scary.
You do a lot of workshops. And fun Videos. I’m curious, what is the youngest student you’ve had? How young were you when you realized ‘This is it?’ I mean as far as the Career was Art?
I have students whose kids love Suzi Blu and want to create. My youngest fan was a boy 2 years old who would mimic what I said in the videos to his cat. As far as for me and this is it, this is not it. I have no idea what IT is. I know I want to create fabulous art journals with personal writing and publish them. That would be it for me, I think. But who knows. I have dreams of a real school. One with walls and a bell and where everyone can wear pink wigs. Like everything else that big I don't know how it will happen. For now I'll just keep doing the next thing in front of me that leads me to my goals. I could never not do art all the time though.
I just can't. It never was an option to do anything else.
What is SuziLand?
A place where my free videos are so when life is getting on you, doesn't understand you and is mean, you can go to SuziLand and feel warm. I love the idea that I have control over a space and fill it only with love.
Your Art is unique, touching. Is there a very personal element to it?
I can't not be authentic its just who I am. You may not like where Im coming from or how I am behaving but Im truthful about it. My gifts and my faults, I lay them out side by side. Although by teaching I have learned to be professional, I do not burden students with my trivial things, it hurts me to not connect with people. Which makes me insecure. I do want you to like me and try not to take it personally if you don't. It never stops me from putting it out there though.
I know you have a lot of fun your Art and your Blogs show that. What kinds of fun do you have with your Art?
With all of my projects its easy for the fun to turn into work, which is why Im going back to free videos in addition to my classes. All work and no play is bad for me. I started all of this as creating a space for myself that was fun, as an outlet for full time school. I want to go back to that feeling. Creating workshops for a year, while is fantastic, I had to concentrate on making quality products. I miss things that don't mean as much. Where I can just let off steam and make fun art without worrying whether its explained. I want to do both.
Look for my line of Stamps, I will be selling them on my website in March. And free tutorials as well. I will also be in the book "Art At The Speed Of Life" by Pam Carriker. It comes out December 10. And all new online classes.
What a busy Artist! Thank you so much Suzi! We will look forward to your stamps and the Book! Find out about Suzi and her workshops at http://www.alovelydream.com/site/Welcome.html