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!!