3 Questions Digital Series

Suzy Schultz

An interview from Art in Embassies 3 Questions Digital Series with Suzy Schultz, who speaks about her creative process and artwork.

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Full Transcript

My name is Susie Schultz, and I’m an artist in Atlanta. I am a painter and I work in the mediums of watercolor and oil. And I also do some drawing and some etching.

I was contacted by the curator that said that she had wanted to put one of my paintings called longing for flight in an exhibition in Poland, in the Polish ambassador’s residence in Warsaw. And the theme is on dance.

And I had done a photoshoot with a friend of mine who I had thought would make it just she has a wonderful face, and I felt like I could do a really good painting of her. And so we did a photoshoot in a former studio of mine, and there was an abstract painting on the wall.

And so it almost looked like wings. And so when I captured some of that background, it looked like she had wings. And so I titled that Longing for Flight. I had been very inspired by the photography of the Web site called Ashes and Snow.

And there was one video that I saw that was a woman, and she was doing a dance with these feathers and this huge bird flew overhead. And so I wanted to capture some of that feeling of that dance as she was interacting with that bird, you know, with everything that’s going on right now.

I almost feel like there’s an even greater need for art and for a reminder of what’s beautiful. And I I’m really moved that my work is going over there and is going to be a part of such a prominent person’s home.

I don’t always know why I paint when I paint. I just know that there are things that I see that put a lump in my throat. And after I’ve painted something for a period of time, it sort of dawns on me.

That’s why I’m painting that. And one of the things that I’ve discovered is that I am drawn to people that have gone through some sort of trial or hardship and maybe are even still going through trials and hardships.

But those hardships have created a dignity or a resilience or a beauty in them that is a stronger beauty. And I heard this term years and years ago, believe it was a French theologian that talked about the second innocence.

And I there was something about that that really stuck with me. And I realized that that’s kind of what I’m looking for, is that second in a sense, that it’s sort of, you know, there’s a first innocence where you you know, you have a you haven’t gone through darkness or you haven’t gone through brokenness.

And there’s a beauty to that, a purity. But there’s also a second. And then that can result from going through those fires and going through those difficult times and coming out on the other end and discovering that you have a resilience or discovering that you have a strength that wasn’t there before.

And so those are the types of subjects that I’m drawn to. And I think because I have this hope that what I see in them, I will also see in myself as I go through struggles as well.

I was introduced to someone who was working at the Presbyterian Missions Agency, who saw some of my work and said, Well, why don’t you come in and start doing some drawings for over two years and why don’t you come in and learn the Mac? So I think he recognized that I had some sort of talent and his gift is investing in people.

And he invested in me as an artist. And so I ended up working there for six years. And during that time, I started painting. And after I’d been there for six years, he said, If you stay, you’ll be doing proofing and typesetting and you won’t be painting much.

And you really need to paint full time. So your job is over in two months. And I knew he was right. And so I was there for another two months. And then I left and I found studio space.

That was back in the end of 1995. And so I just started trying to figure out how I could make money doing the work that I wanted to do. It was very terrifying. I feel like I had a dark couple of years just because it was all up to me to make money and pay my bills.

And I didn’t want to, you know, be out on the street or move back in with my parents or fail at being an artist. And so it was good that I had a studio. It made me go into the studio, keep regular hours, and all of a sudden there was something that was more intimidating than the blank

canvas. And so I just went in and just worked and worked and worked and was able to support myself as an artist. But yeah, going into such a different environment was kind of, it was an adjustment. And but looking back, I’m very thankful that I’m in that environment now.

And I can’t imagine being back in the world that I was in for. And I, I love being an artist full time. Even though it’s difficult, it’s still very difficult. I’m still trying to figure out, you know, where my work needs to go and what shows I need to enter and what galleries I need to approach.

But I’m sure that will always be part of it. And I, I love that I’m able to create and make the work that.