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Susan Black - 10 Questions for Artists

I started following Susan on Instagram...found on the Bread Crumb Trail, I think... and because I wanted to be Mary Englebreit in a past life, it was the graphic (design) nature of Susan's work which really appealed to me. I love her use of colour, repeated pattern, her nature-based themes but it was her honest writing about what this whole (insert swirly hand motion here) "A(a)rt Thing" means that made me a dedicated follower (be sure to check out her ebook Creative Confidence). Another local artist 'I have yet to meet', I'm thrilled to bits that Susan agreed to answer my 10 Questions for Artists. 

1. Favourite artist. Living or dead.

First I couldn't possibly pick just one but I'll try and narrow it down to just a few and secondly I tend to be most inspired by contemporary female painters, all of them found on Instagram. My current short list of favourites are as follows:

Anna Hymas
Laci Fowler
Lulie Wallace
Rosa Roberts
Jo Faulkner
Margaret Jeane

2. What's one thing in your studio you REALLY should throw out?

So, SO many things - in fact I have slated for this summer a massive purge of studio stuff, I'm aiming to remove 50% (including furniture) . I have nowhere to work and spread out and I've lost track of way too many tools. "I know I have a [fill in the blank] somewhere, but I don't know where". Top of the list to throw out: dried out tubes of paint and dead pens and markers.

3. Best studio snack. (creative nutrition is important!)

I'm with Katie Cahill on this question. Sugar is a common ingredient, anything from milk chocolate (never dark), gummy candy, bubble gum. I have a secret stash of dollar store bad stuff in a big drawer in my desk.

4. Favourite studio smell.

My studio doesn't really have many smells good or bad

5. Least favourite studio smell.

(same as above)

6. Most used art related app on your phone.

I don't have a cell phone (I've never had one). I also have Instagram on a cheapo Samsung tablet, and Adobe Creative Cloud on my desktop imac. I use Photoshop (image editing) and InDesign (pdfs) almost every day. I recently purchased an ipad so that I could learn how to use Procreate. It's an incredible program and I find myself lately working on quite complex monochromatic drawings in Procreate - my new Netflix companion.

7. Top song in your studio.

I prefer chatter to music and am a big fan of competitive baking or cooking shows (Britains Best Bakery, Great British or Great Canadian Baking Show, Top Chef, Master Chef ...), true crime podcasts and occasionally non fiction audio books borrowed from the library.

8. Favourite art-related author, podcast(er), YouTuber.

I'm currently quite obsessed with Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher (both UK based abstract painters) and their fantastic podcast Art Juice plus their individual youtube channels. I've recently become a member of Alice's Connected Artist membership, which opens twice a year, and I'm so thrilled that I joined. It's an incredible resource of content and camaraderie - just exactly what I needed to feel less overwhelmed by this creative journey.

Art Juice podcast
Alice Sheridan (youtube)
Louise Fletcher (youtube)
Alice Sheridan Connected Artist

9. Least favourite part of art-making.

Self doubt and confusion. Continually trying to answer seemingly unanswerable questions "who am I as an artist ?, what am I doing ? what is the meaning or purpose of what I'm doing ? I had 5 years of "conceptual art" based education at NSCAD (late 80s), though fantastic in many ways all these years later it's still messing with my head.

10. Describe THE thing that would make you think: "I've Made It."

Two things. First, making a comfortable living would mean BIG time success to me. The second, and perhaps forever elusive, is to feel contented with the work I'm making, job satisfaction is an ongoing goal under that "I've made it" umbrella.

More about Susan:

I'm an artist/illustrator (former graphic designer) living in a small coastal town in Nova Scotia, Canada. I love growing things, cooking, reading, and going for lots of walks. I'm passionate about libraries, cats, colour, pattern, and flowers. After a creative career spanning 30+ years (graphic design, product design, illustration, art licensing) I find myself currently on a journey of discovery trying to transition between commercial art and fine art (painting/mixed media). A journey I find both exhilarating and extremely frustrating.

Website: Instagram: @susanblackart

Thanks, Susan!

Interested in joining in 10 Questions for Artists?

Email or message me and I'll send you the details!