Suzy K’s Quintessential Collage September 2021 Issue 1
By Nancy Coleman
September Featured Artist Suzy Kueckelhan’s methodology in making her collages is the quintessential “Art is a process, not a product.” She doesn’t plan ahead, just grabs some paper from her big stash and, as she said, “goes with the flow.” For her, that means following her feelings to compose and design whatever feels right in the moment, rather than creating something for someone else. The results are works in paper and paint that are grounded, earthy, human, connected – even spiritual in a way.
Sometimes working this way makes a piece just “pop” for her. And if it doesn’t, she puts it down and goes to work on another, or wanders off to live other experiences – all of which she may bring back to the first creation when she returns. Coming back again and again to her work in this way lends a dimensionality to her art that is layered with emotion, life experiences, community, people and connections. If you ever had the chance to speak with Suzy, you would know this all makes sense. She is full of laughter, and her light-hearted conversation runs fluidly from topic to topic.
A Seattle native, Suzy grew up always liking painting, leading her to earn a degree in Art and Art Education at UW in Seattle. With that, she taught art at a middle school in West Seattle for six years, then took time to raise her two daughters, and move with her husband, Lee, and family to Bainbridge Island. Sometime in there she realized (felt, really) she needed to be a professional artist herself and started making a more serious effort at it.
This resulted in Suzy’s spending more and more time in places where art was created and shown, and then eventually showing her own works increasingly frequently in local and regional galleries. She held the position of President of the Northwest Collage Society for ten years and won numerous awards. The one award that perhaps influenced Suzy the most at the beginning of her career in the early 70’s was the Top Amateur Artist Award at the Bellevue Arts Fair, which was highly encouraging and helped her to understand this really was what she was meant to do.
“Going with the flow” lately has meant Suzy taking old paintings that she created 15 or 20 years ago and redoing them to reflect the different life experiences she’s had since their original creation. She said she is trying different things with them and is seeing that they are evolving, but hasn’t completed enough of them to see a decided trend in the evolution of her work overall.
We are lucky that Suzy makes art for herself, and not intentionally to please other people. The results make for authentic and original works, some of which will be on display for the month of September at Collective Visions Gallery. Even though Suzy doesn’t have specific expectations for the response of others to her work, she isn’t disappointed if they aren’t interested in it. That being said, she does enjoy engaging in conversation with gallery visitors and talking about it. So, do come see her works and chat with her! She will be present for First Friday Artwalk and at other times by appointment. You will delight in the experience of this lovely artist and her work.