Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

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!