Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

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.  :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sue who?

Hi Everyone,
Struggled with a bit of a quandary this week regarding my blog, my personality, and my "public image".   Someone who shall remain nameless, except to say that their name rhymes with "dad", like, sounds EXACTLY like that, gave me some very difficult to hear feedback that amounted to "You may not be everyone's cup of tea.  Ever consider, oh, completely hiding your personality or possibly being all fake?"

Okay, that wasn't what he said, but in my hurty-feelings/ pouty state, that was what I heard.  Until a couple days later when I was no longer mad, and able to seriously consider his point.  I asked my close friends what they thought, then branched out to creative professionals who, like me, are basically their own brand, and, like me, lean towards the sarcastic side.  

Most toed the "If people have a problem with me they can kiss my __" party line, 
but one made an excellent point.  She asked if I'd ever had the experience of really liking a certain actor, then being turned off by seeing them interviewed.  YES.  Big time.  Several times, and it kind of wrecked my enjoyment of their work.  

Okay.  Point taken.  As the saying goes, "You can be the most luscious peach in the world; there will always be someone who doesn't like peaches."

Maybe by offering people only one way to experience my art online, I was being a bit selfish by insisting they be funneled through the platinum level "Sue membership", the one that includes all the *bonus materials.*  

But--- big but--- I am not willing to create some fake persona to suit people I don't even know, and who may not want to know me.

The best solution I could come up with was to create another site that has NO personality at all.  Just artwork.  Pictures of art only.  And gallery links, show dates, and a way to contact me.  But that's it.  So now if anyone wants to share my work with people they can, without fear of offending or weirding out anyone.

Here it is.

It got me thinking quite a bit about what exactly I'm trying to do with this blog, Suelandia.  I guess in a way I'm trying to create a community around myself.  I'm assuming if you're here, you are at least somewhat a supporter of mine, and to someone who often goes days without seeing another human, that's big.

Seriously, when you comment or *like* or whatever, it feels like you are laughing at my dumb jokes and high-fiving me.  I like feeling connected to people.  Sure it's online and mostly silent, but I still appreciate it very much.

This is why I like showing you guys, the people who have *bought in* so to speak, my process, my behind the scenes pics, and don't even mind sharing my private thoughts about not just the art stuff, but life stuff too.  Sure every once in a while there may be some colorful language.  But hey--

And I do keep it to a minimum.  I can be bold, brash, blunt, sarcastic and supremely confident sometimes, and insecure, sad, vulnerable, or angry other times, and I always like to try to be funny.  I just don't think there is any problem with people knowing this about me.  I am a human being, who makes art for a living. 

I guess the bottom line is, if you're still here, and keep coming back, thank you, seriously, from the bottom of my heart.  

Be my guest to follow the other site too, and feel free to share it with whomever you'd like.  It won't be updated as often, and will only show pics of completed work, without commentary. 

I finished a couple pieces over the weekend, and have about 4 more wall pieces in process.  More pics and maybe a vid next week.     

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Release" is finished!

Hi Everyone,
Erm-muh-gersh!  I can't believe she's finally complete!  I have gobs of behind the scenes pics to share with you but first--- a bit of blog biz.  

So, muh blog.  I guess a while ago, it broke?  Or something?  Basically people stopped receiving their email updates and I had no idea Until someone told me.  

The good news-- it's fixed!  The bad news-- it ate everyone's subscriptions and I have no way to retrieve them.  So, if you don't want to miss any posts, please (pretty please) click the link on the right that says "Subscribe to Suelandia by email".

Thanks.  And sorry.  Annoying.  I know. 

I guess I'll start with the video unveiling.  It's funny, I meant to talk more about how she changed in my mind before I even began, but once the vid began recording I forgot.  The idea of her began as "loss".  It's painful, but sometimes when you force yourself to endure it, you come out ahead.  Yes we all are forced on some level to deal with it, but we often have a choice to face it or turn away, run from it in our heads, hide.

An example is when I lost my grandma last year.  Near the end it became very painful to visit her in the hospice.  There was one night she didn't seem happy to see me.  She thought she had died, so if I was there, maybe I had too.  She was disturbed, not comforted.  I thought maybe that would be my last visit.  But I forced myself to go again a day later, on my birthday, and she was lucid, and we connected in an extremely meaningful way.  She died that night.   And I was ready to let her go.

I will always be extremely grateful I forced myself to go see her that day, even though it was difficult emotionally.

So for the sculpture, which is not about her, but just the emotions involved in any kind of loss, I first imagined a much more dynamic pose.  She was going to be stepping forward and sort of flinging a bird out away from her.  Take that, loss.

This is my approach to any problem-- I want to be DOING something about it.  Active response, not passive.

Like losing weight-- I'll run and bike like a madwoman, when in reality, I need to be not eating that cookie like a madwoman.  But NOT doing something is not as satisfying as doing something, feeling some measure of control, even if that is an illusion.

That's when I realized, the other side of loss, what you get to once you're through the tunnel of pain, is acceptance--- RELEASE.  And that isn't something you DO.  It's an internal shift that happens inside, a seismic one, but invisible to the naked eye.  You usually can't force it to happen, you sort of ~let~ it happen, usually after feeling a bunch of stuff you'd rather not.  But once you get there you're sort of invincible, because you've endured. That was what I wanted to depict. 

So-- sorry that backstory was a bit long-- here she is:


As promised, here are a bunch of shots of the process.  There were many, many times I had to regroup.  Her face alone took me weeks because of having to redo lips, eyes, cheekbones, noses, but eventually, she appeared through the not so pretty (at first) chaos. 

Here is a video just on making the hands, which a couple people told me would be nearly impossible to do in steel so to not bother trying.  Of course, that said, it HAD to happen.  It was on.


  Please share and link/Pin this post so I can share her with as many people as possible.  Anyone can see her in person for the month of June when my show opens in Hudson WI at Season's On St. Croix Gallery 6/6.

Of course I have no control over who buys her, but she has such a peaceful, even healing vibe.  It would be super cool to see her in a public setting like a hospital or cancer center or somewhere many people could enjoy her.  She will be a tough one to let go of.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Release" update

Hi Everyone.
I have been welding my behind off since my last post and I think (hope) you'll be really impressed with how much progress I've made on the sculpture.  I finished the hair today which really made her look like an actual person for the first time, since until now the back of her head was only roughed in, and really looked pretty gruesome-- not even really shaped properly because I knew it would be covered by hair eventually.  

Here are some shots of that process:

There were a lot of times I wished I'd made her head really perfect because then she would have been equally as beautiful bald or with hair.  This phase renewed my liking of undercuts.  I'd be too chicken, but what a cool look on the right person.

Some tendrils to disguise base of head badness.

 Here the shape of the head is bulked-out by the hair.


This shot shows her ~out of control boobs~ I discuss in the video. 

On the left is the original palette I chose for her dress, but I really fell in love with how the white mixed with the dove grey/blue.  The very bottom will transition to rust speckled with pale blue, and  morph into a train of dried oak leaves.  In my mind it is stunning-- we'll see.

Here is the video in which I discuss the process so far:

The only thing that has been going on in my world lately is this project--- except--- I did get a new bike!  This is huge for me.  I know people who have tons of bikes, but I have been basically planning and trying to figure out how to afford another one for 2 years.  Thanks to a tip from MTB pals, and a special internet deal, my new *fat bike* (made to ride in snow) arrived last week!

Isn't she gorgeous?!?  Believe it or not-- All my gear is black and red, with white-- all my clothing, etc, and when I ordered the bike it just came in black.  The red & white accents were a total surprise!  Even the rim tape (those circles inside the wheels) is dark red! 

One of my trail pals is very expert in all things mtb (and a bunch of other stuff too), and is a good friend, and offered to help me get Stacy, and Dan's identical bike all set up properly (assembled & dialed in).   He even made me decals of her name so she's personalized just for me!

 Here's some video of her maiden voyage through the snow.  I'm pretty sure this is what cursed us and started the latest snow storm to head our direction.  Sorry, everyone in MN!
And here's going back through.  Hilariously, I thought the little part where I almost got stuck (below) displayed some kind of mad skills on my part, but it doesn't look like much here.  Lol!
At the risk of pissing everyone off in the entire area; I am secretly kind of stoked for the predicted snowfall tomorrow, because Stacy and I will ride all over its FACE!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Being objective- or subjective, or...

Hi Everyone.  In this week's video I talk about listening to an interview that sparked my thoughts about the objective v.s. the subjective perspective in artwork.  Here is that radio program, in case you'd like to check it out.  The music is really good too.

In the interview the work of the late Belgian pop artist Evalyne Axell is discussed.  Here is a pic of the album cover they're talking about.

I looked it up after I shot my video, and I have to admit, now that I see it I'm kind of like, "Hmm, maybe I don't get what the hell they're talking about with this objective/subjective stuff..."  Although, I suppose the woman is licking the cone, not being licked BY the cone.  So I guess in this example the cone is being objectified.  Lol.  

Did this objective/subjective thing make sense to you guys?

As for the deal about "getting back to being the real me"-- whatever the heck that means, here is a scatter-shot attempt to explain it:

I've been feeling restless, like a pattern needs to be broken somehow.  I'm not sure if this is just because of being tired of winter or what.  It's just a feeling I have at times and am very driven to act upon.

~The real me~ is basically a giant mass of contradictions that cannot simultaneously exist, but all insist on being represented somehow.  Yikes.  I know.  An example I suppose is how it feels very authentic to me to crave adventure, yet be very afraid of physical harm.  Feeling very confident and like people who don't like it can kiss my ass, and yet be very resistant to hurting anyone's feelings, and being very easily hurt myself at times too.  It's a jumble.

Here's the video:
Are you guys like this?  One place it seems I can always go and feel rooted-- feel a pool of calm opening inside me, is the woods.  I also feel this on rivers, and usually on my bike.  How about you guys?  Any sweet spots?   

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Depicting pain

Hi Everyone,
This week's post is about pain and loss and making art that is true; that has your heart in it.

The connection between the feelings of an artist and their work seems to be a mystery for those who don't make art themselves.  As a human being, I am one giant living breathing processor of emotions; emotions that often feel like they are assaulting me.  We don't want to feel everything we do, do we?

The thing is, if you walk through the world with an open heart- it's going to get broken.  Probably a bunch of times.  I've had loss on my mind lately.  This time last year I began to watch my grandma, who I was very close to, slowly die.  I'd like to think I helped her with that process, but ultimately, it is something we all do alone, even if someone is right there holding your hand.  I also lost a pet, something many can relate to, and watched those around me dealing with various losses in their own lives.  There have been a couple of medical scares that resolved uneventfully, but made me confront my own mortality, and that of those I love.

I still have no idea, when the time comes, if life will be something that is torn from me, or that I will willingly release.  I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.  The inevitability of it confounds me when I really think hard about it though.

Sometimes the thing we're losing is a part of ourselves, or a dream of how we wanted our life to turn out, or our youth, or an important relationship.  It all sucks.  It all feels like being pecked to death by birds, slowly.  But--- the only alternative to feeling all this painful stuff, is to close off your heart, and build walls to keep all the feelings out.  I've done that in the past, and used to think it was a sign of strength.

Now I think differently.  I think it's braver to go through all the losses and changes life brings, feel the pain, but to not let it change you too much.  Perhaps you'll have more empathy, which is a good thing.

I think it is a far braver move to thrust your heart right out there and give life and the people around you all of yourself, knowing you are vulnerable to being hurt again--- and I believe you get more out of it too.  Stay a live nerve ending while you have the chance to.

I am a believer that the pendulum swings both directions.  Every experience expands your personal capacity.  Growth, people.

Anyway, in this video I describe how the sculpture I'm trying to make ties in to my personal feelings about loss.  This is something that has taken me a long time to realize; that people pick up on this in my work (when i do a good job)-- the emotional residue.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

T minus 4 months!!

Ohhhh Myyyyyy Ggggggosh you guys!!
I have exactly 4 months until the first one person show I've done in several years opens in June!  (And I feel SO fat right now.)  AND- I turn 50 in June too!!  

How, oh how, will I create piles and gobs of the most awesome artwork yet, lose 10 lbs, and become the kick ass woman I've always wanted to be by June??!

Here's me starting out:

I have always had this idea that I will get better and better somehow.  I keep working on myself, my life, my art, and have crafted this image in my head I have almost no hope of ever living up to.   Basically, when I grow up i want to be her--

And for this to be my biography--

Who am I kidding??  ~Sigh~

Believe me, the irony of trying to perfect the woman's face I'm creating when more and more my own reflection startles me,  isn't lost on me.
For the year ahead-- this will have to be my motto--
 And, as usual, this--

 This feels really personal.  I've written and deleted this part a whole bunch of times now.  Basically, I'm getting ready to take on some really ambitious challenges this year that I know will make me feel very inadequate at times.  I'm also facing some personal stuff that pretty much is scary and sucks, and will force me to be stronger than I've ever had to be.  I know at times I'll feel very alone, but also that I'm really not because everyone on Earth feels like that sometimes, so... we're all alone together sometimes I guess.

Keep getting better everyone.  We can do it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back in the saddle!

Hey Everyone,  
I spent all last spring and summer finishing up that big commission-- you remember it right?  The big deer/heron/archstravaganza?

 It was a success I guess; the art turned out awesome, the client was happy, and I feel like my work went to another level-- a result I always am chasing with every new project.  But I learned a LOT:

Don't believe any timelines you're given until someone actually cuts you a check.  Some people will lie right to your face about being able to fulfill whatever you are subcontracting them for, just to get the job, while others will continually go over and above what was agreed upon, because that is just how they roll.  Oh-- and a really big one-- giant welds make steel warp/shrink/expand, basically go all wonky, so either plan for that or plan to AVOID designing components that rely on precision in the field.

When the job wrapped, completed in only 5 months as opposed to the full year initially discussed, my body was pretty much shot.  I couldn't even lift my laptop without yelping and my hand going limp.  But now I'm back in the shop making tons of new pieces for a show coming up in June (which believe it or not is not much time considering how much I have to create).

This will be my best show EVER.

I'm going to begin making videos again-- who knows of what-- people all seem to want to see different things-- I may wind-up just amusing myself with these-- but I made a new channel trailer to kick off 2014.

Check it out:

Here is one of the illustrations I'm working on to try screen printing.  I have so many ideas!  

Here is a fire barrel I recently made from an old water heater-- possibly something that will show up at my next show?? 

This is a crown I made for an all female bike competition in Minneapolis last summer.  I'm still extremely into biking.  Dan and I ordered fat bikes (special bikes for riding on snow) that should arrive in spring.  Prepare to be conqured, next winter.

Right now I'm in this mode again-- which is a very good mode to be in, if you're an artist.