Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Weclome to Sue's Design Studio

Hello Everyone.  How do you like giganto type?  Easier to read, or annoying?

Hey, great news!  Remember that job I was trying to get from the last post?  I got it!  They still need to get their funding lined up (applying for a grant), but if everything goes as planned, looks like I'll be spending my summer making a cool giant fish!

All week I've been working on the design studio.  It's taking a while, but there has been a LOT of stuff to sort through.  I've become pretty ruthless in my sorting.  I even got rid of some Margret Atwood books!  I'd kept them, thinking perhaps after I die whoever gets tasked with sorting through my things would be impressed I liked her, but decided that was dumb (this is only half joking, people) and I'm not going to reread them, so it's best to let them go.

So here's how it's shaping up.  I love it so far!
At one end (to the right of doorway) is a little sitting area for sketching, meetings, etc. 

Here's what it looks like from that end of the room.  The white tall thing on the left is a mattress waiting to become a murphy bed.  Another work table will be set up there this weekend, in front of the book case.

And here's the view from the bookcase.  I really like it.  For the first time it really feels like *my space*, where my work in all it's various forms can be done.  It feels like it has good flow.

 It's not completely done.  I still have a file cabinet to reorganize, another work table to move in, a couple more shelves to put up, a loft to help build, the murphy bed/desk to build, etc etc.  But really when are you ever DONE with a house?  Hopefully in the next month or two, with Dan's instrumental assistance, we'll get it all squared away.

Here are some of the finishing touches I got to do this week along with all the cleaning out and rearranging.  This might seem frivolous, but when you are an artist, your work space's vibe is as important as the practical stuff.

I have a couple bulletin boards where I keep things that inspire me.  This is not great, just a quick sketch I did once, using my left, and then my "wrong" hand.  It reminds me I can always adapt.  Adapt or die, as they say.

I love love LOVE elephants, and used to collect them.  (I have enough now.)  I think they represent "belonging" to me.

Remember my bookkeeping system?  That huge messy pile by my stairs?  It's now a drawer!  (Baby steps, people.)  Hey-- It looks WAY neater.

I still have this little shrine on top of my art supply chest.  Don't weird-out, it's non-religious.  It's where I keep all the cool little do-dahs I find on hikes, and other small treasures.  It represents *wonder*.   The mirror reminds me I'm part of it.  The picture on the front is my sister.  A strong connection.

This is a piece I made.  It symbolizes home, and most importantly, our ability to recreate it whenever and wherever we need to.  It's something that travels with us.

The rectangular piece below the collage reminds me to USE my creativity; that it is a luxury and a gift, and that all over the world are people too busy trying to survive to be able to do art, and women who are oppressed into silence.  The little box is a gift, hand made by a good friend.  It reminds me to do all things concerning my work with CARE.

Last but not least, I got a new planner.  I ordered it back in Nov, but they were back-ordered so it just finally arrived.  It's critical now that I am preparing for 2 shows by June, and have a couple different volunteer gigs going.  I'm using color coded post-its for personal, printing, welding, & volunteer entries.  
 I must admit, I feel a tiny bit over my head.  I could see today, as I attempted to map projects, it will be my customary ~*impossible*~ race to the finish line.  I pretty much need to finalize all print shop projects, especially for the April 11th show, by the end of this month (yipes!).  After that, it'll be weld-o-rama time, and yes, my project list is hilariously ambitious, as always.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thinking big

Hi Everyone.  Thanks to all of you who have subscribed by clicking that little button over on the right.  I really appreciate it.

I've been working on some ideas for public art projects lately.  Public art is always sort of a big deal, because it is expensive, and the people commissioning it are opening themselves up to lots of criticism & controversy.  It is a rather bold move.  When done poorly I feel it reflects poorly on my entire profession, so it's very important to *get it right*.

So this charming little lakeside town in western MN, Battle Lake, has a little alleyway connecting a parking lot to their Main Street, and they want to make it attractive and interesting and *arty*.  Their call for art was for an archway to go here.
 I looked into the town and surrounding area (Thank you google image search, google, you tube, street view, satellites, etc) and this town really is exactly what you think of when you picture "MN lakes country".  After going through a number of ideas, fish were what I kept coming back to.  

But the more I thought about fish, the farther I moved from the idea of an arch.  I thought first of a swirling school forming the columns, which would look cool, but you wouldn't really see the coolness of it until you were close up.  I began to picture a giant singular fish.  Leaping up, arching, if you will.  Like this:
But I didn't want a realistic fish like some sporting goods ad.  I was picturing something way more whimsical.  I began looking at pictures of old articulated fish pendants like this:
But in gorgeous colors like this:
The best way I could think of to show how this would look the way I would make it-- covered with a gorgeous mosaic of colored steel and colored glass globs and little pieces of copper here and there-- was to make a collage piece for them, out of tons of itsy bitsy pieces of colored paper and copper foil, placed with a tweezers and glued in place by hand, one by one.
Even though i was really happy with how it came out, it still pales in comparison to the fish in my head made of steel.
I made a mock-up for them, to show how it would look in place.  It still has the feeling of an arch to me, but is cooler because it is a giant sculpture.  It's lips are 10' in the air!  That little man is 6' tall!
I hope i get the job but it's up to a committee to decide.  They are probably choosing from a number of cool ideas.  I'd love to get to make this though.

Another idea that just won't leave my head is this one of a forest *setting*, that people would walk into and be immersed in an "art environment."

People love to walk into and through things, over things.  It's irresistible to most, when presented the opportunity.  I think it reminds us of being a kid and playgrounds, forts etc.  Maybe even of caves.  It gives people that little tingle of adventure.  I'd love to make some really huge scale art that invites people in, and once inside, there is a little oasis; a clearing with a small sitting area. 
The longer they sit there and take a moment, the more details they'd notice; a small bird on a branch, a little fox peeking from behind a tree, an intricate leaf.  If there was artful landscaping to go with, maybe even a water feature?-- Magical!

This is an idea i feel will happen; it is just a matter of when and where.  Obviously it would be a very big scale project, so would require a large budget, and a huge block of my time.  But how cool?!?  I can totally see it as a wonderful photography venue too-- imaging the amazing wedding, graduation, anniversary etc pictures that could be staged in a place like this!

So anyway- that was my last couple of weeks.  I presented both of these projects to different entities.  That last forest one was more just to put it on the radar.  It is an idea for the future that was very well-received.  They (my first potential client) aren't ready yet, but neither is the idea.  It wasn't a "no", it was a "I love this idea and would love to see us plan for something like this in the future."  

It will grow cooler as it incubates in my brain. I also have other ideas for clients for it.  It is scalable.

I'm brewing other ideas too.  I'm not sure how many of you are winter outdoorsy types, but I realized some years ago I am a happier camper if I gear up and get outside no matter the weather, and winter is actually very beautiful.  Biking in winter allows me to go farther, and see more than i can just walking, although i do enjoy both.

Winter offers a more stark kind of beauty,

It's more about form, and either very subtle ghostly shifts of color or bold contrasts.
I'm learning about manipulating these images I'm collecting; ways to be more creative with them.
This, of course, relates to my screen printing, and I'm getting all kinds of creative ideas there.  Lucky for me, because suddenly I have 2 shows booked this spring! The first,  April 11th, will feature a lot of my screen printing work-- tees, but also other cool items.

Starting the first Friday in June I'll be doing another solo show at Seasons On St. Croix Gallery in Hudson.  I'm thinking I'll be presenting a lot of outdoor art for that-- gardeny/woodsy things.  Enchanted forest??  We'll see...

My dance card is once again full, so I better keep my arty pants on and make make make!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Re mix-- or perhaps perpetual mix...

Hello Everyone.I hope 2015 is being good to you so far.  I'm feeling pretty energized lately.  Zooming ahead into new projects, new ideas.

When I'm in a hyper creative flow, it's as if I'm in one of those glass booths we've seen people step into on game shows where there are thousands of dollar bills swirling around inside.  I'm in the midst of a vortex of ideas that I snatch at, making a quick sketch here, jotting a note there, trying like mad to capture as many as possible before they all fly away.

Since beginning my screen printing shop, I've been getting tons of ideas of cool things I can print; various fabrics etc.  This has led to all kinds of thoughts about how these prints could be used artistically: tees obviously, but also pillows, wall art, lamp shades, fashion pieces other than tees, etc etc.

Beyond that, thinking about all this has rekindled my interest in collage, digital art, photography, drawing, etc etc etc.

Plus, I guess I better learn to sew!

I now have 3 work spaces-- my metal shop, my office (design studio), and the print shop.  Here's my office:

I love the warmth of the wood, and all my funky stuff.  And books books books.  I like this cool hang-outy area.  It is usually set up for photo shoots though, so packed full of reflector lights and backdrops and tripods etc.

I need more room!  I need to have a spot to cut stuff up and set up little models.

Being surrounded by my cool weird treasures is important too.  

I'm on a mission to revamp this space and make room for a couple large work tables.  One thing I didn't mention is that a couple times a year this turns into a spare room, and 3 beds happen.  (!)

So my plan involves building a loft, and a murphy bed, and a collapsible base for a big desktop I have.  (Anyone remember my stained glass phase?)  

All these ideas flying around, plus trying to deal with my space issues (for example, this is my filing system for the whole year, a little spot as you go up my stairs, and my dining room is now my shipping and receiving department) has had me thinking a lot more about my over all goals for my art biz too. 

As you can see by my complicated accounting system, it is, after all, a business too.

When I say thinking about the business end of things, I've come to realize this is probably very different from how non-artists think about their businesses.  My thinking is more like, "How can I arrange it so I can make the next super cool woman I have in my head with a skirt made of branches and falling leaves, and wind-up getting paid?"  Or "How can I get this new color separation software that would allow me to make some more advanced screen prints?"

So I've been digging into that--- How can I let my creativity run wild, advance my work, and somehow manage to make a living?  I've been taking some classes and workshops; following all kinds of ideas. 

  Everything eventually boils down to really sales-y stuff though, like "lead pages" and "landing pages" and "sales funnels".  They talk about "creating online content" in a way that reminds me of hiding the dog's pill in a chunk of meat.  Like, "be tricky-- distract people with this shiny thing while getting them to sign onto a sales list."

Last night after a class about Pinterest I had a revelation:  I do not want to do that.

I don't want to somehow trick people into supporting me.  I want to make really cool things that add something positive to the world.  I want people to be affected by that, to feel excited about the world and to feel I'm contributing to the general coolness of their experience in it.

I need money to live, yes, but I'm not doing what I do for the money.  So I'm only willing to go so far in pursuit of that.  

I'm asking you guys to help me out by following me on my journey as I grow from Sue Seeger- metal artist, to Sue Seeger Studios - metal art, tees, home decor, furniture, fashion, etc.

The only surefire way I have to share my work with people is if they subscribe to this blog.  Facebook isn't 100% reliable anymore, and all social media platforms are going more and more to a pay to play format.  I can do shows and be in galleries, but even that is limited exposure, and is expensive too.  

If you subscribe (click the link on the upper left) I promise not to bombard you with posts about my cats etc.  I'm going to be doing more posts showing a direct correlation between my life and my work-- how recent events/experiences have affected my art.

You'll see new work here first.  You'll see ideas in the process of developing.  You'll see basically what it is like to be a working artist.  And, as you long time readers know, you'll see me being me, because apparently I can't help my silly self.  

So please subscribe and share my posts on social media.  If you do you'll be kind of partnering with me-- supporting me as an artist.  :)  Thanks!! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

All the Whos down in Sueville...

Merry Christmas Christians.  Here's Jesus getting down with his holy self-- enjoy!
Happy Holidays everyone else.  No matter what holiday is being celebrated it always seems to be a time to take stock for me; think about things I am grateful for, and where I am in my journey, how I can do better.

This week I have been thinking a lot about connections.  Over the last year I've come to realize besides my art being an escape pod for my brain, it is also a portal that allows me to connect to people and vice-versa.

 This was unexpected and took me a long time to realize and accept.  It is another gift to me from the universe, because although I crave connection, I am an introverted weirdo at times, who has a hard time with that.  

Kind, wonderful people out there have shown me in tons of ways over the past year, that they value my work, and through it, see something in me too.  There is a couple in WI who have driven many miles to come to art shows and meet me.  There is a local guy and his wife who have gone to quite a bit of trouble as well, to support me in my art, but also shown up to help at my beloved trail-- that's pretty big.  A racer made a point of taking me aside and telling me how much my sculpture Tina meant to him, and that he and his family had their Christmas picture taken with her.  The woman who purchased Release shared a great deal with me about her personal feelings, and stories about her family relating to the piece.  She even sent me a Christmas greeting just to check in.  There are artists out there, who I admire very much, who have connected with me and been willing to network and even just be goofy with me.

Tons of people have reached out to me privately, supported what I'm trying to do creatively, bought stuff from my website, interacted on facebook...  It might not sound like much.  I'm probably not doing a good job of conveying how much this has meant to me.  It has made a huge difference in the way I see how I am and what I do though.

Now in my creative endeavors I am in a hyper productive time right now, and feel more free than ever to let it go whatever direction it takes me.  Lately I am fixated on the idea of giving people an experience with my work-- to strike a nerve-- give people a feeling, of wonder, or enchantment, or even power.

I am super excited about the coming year.  Thanks so much, each and every person who keeps reading my ramblings, has reached out, came out to shows, visited the website, friended me on FB, followed on Twitter or Instagram.  You are changing me and my work for the better.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

So... Anyone still here?

Hey people. First let me say, if you are looking for my professional site, this is not it.  Click the link over on the right.  This is my personal blog.  Secondly, I realize it is not very likely anyone will actually read this since I haven't posted anything in a zillion years, and besides that it is just a bunch of my ramblings, so-- if you are still reading, thanks; because I've got some stuff to say and it's nice to imagine someone out there listening. 

Sorry it has been so long.  I got caught in a loop of going "Why would anyone care what i think about ___", and then it seemed in order to return to posting I should have some kind of monumental news, and it just became more and more difficult to poke my head up again.

This reminds me of bumping into someone you have been very close to in the past, and asking, "So, how's it going?  What have you been up to?"  A slew of snapshots and video clips fly through your brain as galaxies form and are extinguished etc...  In the end it's all too overwhelming and you say, "Oh, you know... life."

So I won't even try to account for the missing time.  The very very short version is I have been aging the best I can despite all kinds of disappointing unavoidable deterioration; hopefully becoming less of a jerk, more patient and *kind*, and also caring less and less what people think of me.  Here's to the 50's.  ~*Clink*~

Here's what's up now:  My brain is exploding with ideas.  I've come to realize everyone isn't like this.  For many years I thought they were; that everyone was constantly receiving a barrage of images all the time.  Now I understand how lucky I am. 

It's marvelous to have this channel that's always on whenever you tune in, day or night and a wonderful escape at times.  It is def a little rabbit hole you can just let yourself fall into.  It's also a little frustrating if you are impatient or a perfectionist (the first, a little, the second, only as it applies to the quality of my own work) because often you are getting snippets or layers of images.  They're all drifting around in a giant soup in your brain and you no sooner begin to make sense of one than another floats over and obscures it.

This 2 min clip is a little jewel box that is the closest thing to describing simultaneously how my brain works visually, and also the experience I am continually trying to recreate for people with my art-- that sense of wonder.  The imagery in it is very much like that soup in my brain.  Intoxicating.  (Excuse the audio-- had to record off my screen)


I started a screen printing shop in my garage since I last posted.  this may seem abrupt, but i have actually been working towards this for a couple of years now.  I have had to learn a completely new set of skills, and even make some of my own tools etc-- invent things to help me to do everything by myself.  It's fun and interesting, and now that I have mastered the basics I'm starting the fun part--- experimenting; printing in ways and on materials that people told me would not be possible.  This has made my brain go into creative overdrive thinking of ways fabric can become integrated into my art.

I have a few big sculpture projects in the works too.  One thing I am determined to solve this year is funding.  I have TONS of really cool ideas, and I work extremely hard-- very long hours etc.  There really is not much of a division between my work and my life at this point.  My home has been taken over by screen printing and art supplies, and every waking moment seems to be spent wading through creative ideas.  I am not complaining.  This is the gift of my life.  I guess I was created to be a giant receiver of sorts, some kind of art dispenser.

But in art there is the conundrum of needing to get paid to keep doing what you do, and eat etc.  I'm still figuring out my tee website, getting eyeballs and wallets to that to help support me so i can keep going with that.  All the supplies involved with printing are very expensive.  Big sculptures need to be purchased somehow.  I love to work for months on a big amazing sculpture, but I only have so much yard space, and can't work for free.  This is not a hobby.

"Release" sold within 2 months of completion.  So that was very encouraging.  I have 4 projects right now, 2 have potential backers, 2 are labors of love I want to make very badly.  They would be leaps of faith, like Release was.  I'll start one of the 4 in Jan, probably the one I want to try crowd funding with, for a public site.  This project already has some support-- people who want to see it completed.

One thing about my constant "hungry" state-- it has kept me shuffling-- shadowboxing-- trying to solve for x.  It keeps me stirring the image soup and trying to spoon out ideas, because ultimately, I know it is on me to create things so amazing people will love and buy them.  That said, I have to admit I am tired of working 80 hour weeks and being poor.  I don't think it is too much to ask to want to continue to pursue my passion, and be compensated fairly.  So that will be a goal of mine going forward.

File under-- putting it out there to the Universe.

So that is my mission right now-- to make incredible things people want to buy; that enchant them.  To sift through the onslaught of images and ideas and find the jewels I can't ignore, and do my very best work on all levels, learn whatever new skills are needed, and make irresistible things that resonate-- that really affect people.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


No time for much of a post this week, but I did shoot a quick video.  If you don't have time for the 7 minute tour and update, please zoom to the final minute and a half.  


Also, help me spread the word about my show by sharing my art site with whomever you think may be interested.  SUE'S ART 

Thanks guys!!! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Coloring steel and getting ready for the big show

Hi Guys,
It's been a total whirlwind around here.  I'm working like a maniac.  I made a quick video about coloring the steel.  So here's that--

In other SueNews- It's mountain biking season again-- the trail is open again!  Yay!  Actually last Sat we had our first major trail work session of the year, and we had such a huge turn-out we split the crew and I sort of had my own detail.  It was a really interesting and positive experience.  

I was a bit worried some of the guys wouldn't want to listen to me.  It turned out fine though.  I'll be the first to admit I'm not an expert trail builder (yet), so it was a process of me telling them my initial idea- what I wanted to accomplish, and then asking them to give me their ideas.  In the end the whole team came up with a couple of great new trail segments and everyone seemed to have a good time.

I got my first few rides of the year in too, and it feels great to be back on Penny!  I even rode this really scary downhill I was too chicken to take on last year called "shotgun".  No problem now.  Actually my fear level is way down so far.  That probably means I need to watch it or I'll eat it again big time this year.  Lol.

Tonight I'm sitting with my fav kitty Ray and worrying about him quite a bit.  Earlier today he began staggering around.  I'm hoping it's just an inner ear infection and he'll go back to normal in a couple of days.  He doesn't show any other alarming symptoms, so I'm staying positive for now.  If anything happens to him I'm going to really lose it though.  He is really my little buddy in the evenings and I love him to death.  Hard to go out and be all freewheeling with the creativity when I'm this worried.  

Send vibes, people!

There are a bunch of new pics on the art only blog.  You can look at that here.  Subscribe to that one too if you want.  The art only blog has gotten a huge response.  Many more people are comfortable sharing that, than this blog, and it has actually given me a whole new appreciation and respect for my work.  My art is able to touch far more people than I can as an individual, and that is quite humbling and cool.

Thanks for checking in.  More pics of new completed pieces next time.  :)