Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Suzie Collins. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Suzie, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Learning the craft is often a unique journey from every creative – we’d love to hear about your journey and if knowing what you know now, you would have done anything differently to speed up the learning process.
Growing up arts and crafts were the activities I was drawn to and encouraged by my parents to continue to explore. I formally started to learn different types and forms of art as a BFA student at the University of Texas in Austin. However, when I graduated our economy was heading into a recession, so I took a full time job working in advertising in 2007, so art took a back seat.
Fast forward to 2015, I came across an article featuring Emma Lindstrom, a Swedish artist and I was completely awe struck by her technique, process and work. At the time, I was very stressed out at work and coupled with being emotional connecting to her work- I started to pick-up painting again.
I couldn’t figure out how she produced such beautiful work with acrylic paint, so I started researching. I bought books on fluid art and different acrylic mediums, I watched hours upon hours of videos on different techniques and stalked images on social for materials/mediums artists used. I would call up art stores, Golden Paints and Liquetex to soak up as my knowledge as I could but at the end of the day it came down to the experience, the epic failures, the trial and errors and a feeling that felt like I was just burning money on supplies. However, with each painting, I got closer to creating something I was proud of and then people started to notice and buy my art.
Once my paintings started to sell, I bought an Emma Lindstrom painting for our house, to me this marked a moment, a moment that I was going to lean into art and not let obstacles and moments of distraught stop me. Every day after work, I would come home spend time with the family and head into the garage “my studio” from 8pm- 12am working on art, mastering my craft.
After a couple of years of working in the garage, I rented a studio and at the height of the pandemic in October 2020, my studio caught fire and I lost everything. That put me in a dark place, I had never felt so defeated to see something I had worked so hard for and poured my passion into gone, a bunch of dark ashes. However, allowing myself to feel those feelings, something snapped in me and once I got a new studio in 2021, my art totally changed. I let go of what I thought would sell and what people traditionally liked and just allowed my heart to lead the art. Everyday is a learning experience and I feel that if you aren’t learning or experimenting then you truly aren’t exploring the depths of what your art can be.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I grew up in a creative family, my mom an interior designer and my dad worked in the wood flooring business. Creativity was something I was drawn to, it was a way to express myself when I couldn’t find words, in a sense it is, it’s own language.
Over the last 6-7 years, I started painting to experiment, trying different techniques and mediums, the better I got at the craft the more paintings I started to sell which eventually moved me to custom orders. For the last 5 years the majority of my work have been custom orders. I build all of my canvases out of wood, so I am able to customize to the size. I see custom orders as a collaboration between myself and my client. This usually begins with a design consultation and then several rounds of images to ensure the direction and color is heading in the way my client envisioned. I love doing collaborative paintings because sometimes I can’t see the change my client wants but it always ends up being better which is something I love in these partnerships.
The thing I am most proud of is what I have built. This business has been built by my two hands from the ground-up. It’s incredible to step back and look at all of the artwork which started from lumber and turned into a beautiful painting in your home. This is more than just a passion, it is something I am so proud of and I know if my mom was still alive to this day, she would be as well.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
During the middle of the pandemic, October of 2020 the studio next to me caught fire and it spread into my art studio. All of my artwork and supplies were ruined. It was truly devastating to see something I had worked so hard for in ashes. I know I alluded to this in an earlier question but allowing myself to feel the pain, to feel the rawness of defeat, opened another door for me. After two months, I was able to find another studio in the Tin District by Trinity Groves– which silver lining – is a wonderful place to work with artists all around me. The new space and the people around me revived my energy, artwork started to pour out of my soul. One thing that has really changed since the fire is my style, over the 16 months I’ve been navigating where my heart has been taking me and I am just now starting to see a series come to life. The lesson its taught me is to have grace and patience, in tragedy allow those moments of defeat to feed your creativity.
Are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
I wish I knew about the local art scene here in Dallas. My studio is located in the Tin District which is right by Trinity Groves. The area is buzzing with artists, I believe there are over 46 art studios in this area. I wish I would’ve known about the area and started to connect with artists earlier on. Through connections you can learn so much, get advice, pull inspiration and collaborate, those lessons and conversations are invaluable especially as an up and coming artist.
- Website: suziecollins.com
- Instagram: @suziecollins_Art
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwiftArtGallery?msclkid=1fbb2b03cfc811ecac6e45d15198540c
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzie-collins/