Beachy Keen: A Q&A with Artist Susan Schmidt
We’ve never been to a beach down under, but thanks to Australian artist Susan Schmidt we really want to visit one and stay a while.
We had the good fortune of meeting Schmidt at the Asia Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong. Her painting “Red Towel” entranced us, bringing us back to our lazy beach days and longing for more of them. In fact, “Red Towel” is our favorite painting that we’ve seen this year.
Schmidt is certainly one that we’ll watch – and hope to collect. And that’s a high compliment as our preferences lean more towards the pop realm.
What sets Schmidt apart is her use of colour and texture, making still life and architectural works come to life with bright hues, layered strokes and shimmering glaze.
Anyone can pick up a brush. Not everyone can transport you with it.
Without further ado…
The NewsWhistle Q&A with Artist Susan Schmidt
Name: Susan Schmidt
Date of Interview: November 2013
Age (if you want to give it up): Born 1960
Birthplace: South Australia
Current town: Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia
1. What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?
I have been sitting on these interview questions for about 2 weeks now, waiting for something noteworthy enough and hopefully ‘funny’ to happen. Recent events have made me realise that I am lucky to have ‘funny’ around me every day with my best friend, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named ‘Gus’ who makes me laugh with his infectious, innocent love and lust for life.
2. What’s your favorite movie? And why?
Titanic would have to be one of my favourite movies. It’s very sad and I cry every time I watch it but I love the romance, drama, lavish costumes and set design and the mystery surrounding the real life story. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are great together.
3. What’s the biggest risk you took in life?
Following my heart and becoming an artist. The first decision led to thirteen years freelancing as an illustrator /designer in the advertising industry and the second decision to give up that security to paint and raise a family led to my current practice as a professional fine artist.
Hong Kong Hibiscus 1
4. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be?
I wouldn’t change anything.
5. Tell us your favorite joke:
Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9 .
6. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
My best friend is a dog.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
What goes around comes around, the concept of ‘karma’, cause and effect, action and reaction.
8. Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?
Other artists whose work I admire are my celebrities. My list of favourite artists and artworks keeps extending and changing, however, Vincent van Gogh has always remained up there. I admire his passion, belief in himself and the honesty of his art under the most discouraging circumstances. He is a pioneer who has paved the way for the rest of us.
9. What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?
I’m very careful what I wish for.
10. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?
My website, www.susanschmidtart.com.
11. And a bonus curve question . . . Can you tell us more about the “Red Towel” painting? How did it come about? Where did you get your inspiration? How long did it take to produce? We’re really big fans of the piece.
“Red Towel” is a painting from my “Seaburbia” series. This series (that I have been focusing on for 4 years) is inspired by the iconic Australian beach house. It explores the cultural memory and heritage of the beachfront homes of Australia. These houses are disappearing due to development and increased land values however the “Red Towel” house for the moment has survived. Hand painted on the front of the building are the words ‘Coolum Board Room’ as the location of the house is Coolum Beach and the current tenant a surfer and board repairer. The work is painted in mixed media from my own photographs; texture, layering and glazing create a sense of history and nostalgia. This house and the simple life that it represents can be loved again as a contemporary recording on canvas.