We not only welcome our artist of the month but also offer a heartfelt 80 gun birthday salute to Sue Kreitzman as she enters another brave and bold new decade with a life containing ever more twists and turns.
We first met through a chance encounter involving a mutual friend after an artist became unavailable and Sue offered to exhibit. We instantly bonded and began a series of co-curated shows. One of these happened beneath an old church in St Pancras in a cold crypt containing 557 tombs which was once used as a shelter from WW2 bombs. This dark damp crypt gallery space was turned into an explosion of joy and colour. For Sue's birthday during the exhibition, I organised for a dancer actor to emerge from a roll of carpet unravelled down a long walkway that ended at the feet of Sue. What an evening that was!
We went on to co-curate group shows involving Sue's artwork with a growing coterie of like minded artists including Ella Guru and John William in exhibitions titled Wow, Flashier and Trashier, Epiphanies and Dare to Wear. These were in galleries that included Novas near Tate Modern although our true enduring spiritual base was to be found in a challenging and unlikely place. This NHS Conference Centre is located in a striking Victorian building at St Pancras Hospital and is now considered by many to be one of London's Art world secrets with visitors not expecting to find such a beautiful surprise. Sue has added to its stature over the last 10 years with her support and co-curated Arts Project exhibitions. These alternate themed exhibitions that explore the joy of colour with explorations of wild extremes of needlework and stitchery.
Watch out for news of a planned collaboration between The Arts Project and Sue later in 2021 when we return to see what is happening with the pleasures and possibilities of the world in colour.
As an additional homage to Sue's inspirational links with younger artists we include this transfigured portrait by young artist Katelyn Barnes of an original photo. The result explores the physical surfaces of paint and photography while suggesting Sue's true love for Art that fights to overcome, and enriches an often drab colourless world.
Artwork by Katelyn Barnes from an original photograph by Ruthie Stevens
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SELF
'I am an Outsider Artist, an accidental artist, a happy victim of an unexpected epiphany in my late 50s.' WHAT DOES YOUR ART MEAN TO YOU
'Now I hover somewhere between 80 and eternity. I live for colour, I live for art, and I live to help younger unsung artists receive a fair share of visibility and success.'
WHAT ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE HAVE IMPACTED THE MOST ON YOUR GROWTH AS AN ARTIST.
'I am surrounded by art. My art and the art of my friends and protoges. I live, breathe, eat, drink and dream it. I wear it. I bury myself in it. I wrap myself in its profundity. My life is an oasis of art and colour. Every gorgeous piece of it, the making of it, the collecting of it, the viewing of it, the whole entirety of it, the glorious colourful clutter of it, keep me safe, keep me sane, keep me unutterably happy. My life is filled with love and colourful joy.'
WHO OR WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCES ON YOUR WORK AND DEVELOPMENT AS AN ARTIST
'Altered mannequins, embellished dolls, memory jugs, paintings, sculptures, assemblages, installations...they tell profound stories, they contain anima, they represent boundless and wild creativity, they leap out at me and my visitors from every niche and corner. Too much?? Don’t be silly. Less is less, more is not nearly enough. My beliefs are: kitsch can be spiritual. Minimalism is scary. Beige might kill you. Art is the glue that holds our life together and tells our story to the world. I am the art and the art is me. There is no separation.'
HOW DO YOU SEE THE ARTS DEVELOPING IN THE NEW WORLD THAT IS IMPACTING ON US ALL
'When will the Pandemic end? It’s going to be awhile. Quite awhile. The entire world has been brought to its knees, and after it’s over, the world will be a different place entirely.
Of course, the arts will suffer. They are suffering already. Galleries going out of business, museums shutting down, and, in some cases, disappearing for good, funding is drying up: the structures of the visual art business are crippled.
Artists, especially Outsider Artists will continue making art. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, it’s what keeps deep depression at bay, it is as necessary to us as breathing. And the angst and uncertainty of the times will make our art even more profound, complicated, and deeply meaningful.
But where to exhibit, how to make a living wage, how to survive this disaster? On line exhibitions are the thing right now, Zoom, Instagram, virtual this, that and the other are filling the gaps, but in a small and makeshift way. What happens when the cyber attacks bring everything down?
So my answer to the question that was posed to me: “How will the arts survive the Pandemic?” is: I don’t know! It’s scary, it’s complicated, and – right now – there is no end in sight.
During the plague years, Shakespeare wrote King Lear. While you are waiting out the Pandemic, create your own masterpiece. There is plenty of time. Make this period of history meaningful for you.
As far as the future is concerned: Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Love, strength and hope to all.'
Thank you Sue for being our ARTIST OF THE MONTH