It is always such a pleasure to introduce an incredibly talented artist and to welcome another #girlboss into the Well + Wonder fold. Suzy Lindow is no exception. Known for her spunk and color we are beyond thrilled to infuse a little bit of funk into our ever-growing collection. Originally from Minnesota, Suzy studied Psychology at NYU before living in and exploring mostly the American Southwest for the decade following. She's since settled down with her husband and three young children in Coastal Virginia, where she spends her non-studio time secretly recording her neighbors doing shirtless lawn care and periodically torturing her 17-year-old Persian cat with mini party hats. Suzy likes to create bold, lively pieces that infuse personality into space, and her main influences include colorful vintage textiles, tribal artifacts, and folk art and what a treat it is to have over 24! of these works in the Well + Wonder collection. We recently stepped inside Suzy's colorful studio and we were so inspired! She was also gracious enough to let us fire off our Pardon Me rapid-fire questionnaire. Thank you, Suzy, for indulging our curiosities, we are so thrilled to have you as a part of Well + Wonder!
What is currently on your nightstand?
Ice cold water, lip balm, big funky statement earrings discarded at the end of the day, Lord Jones, and forever and always, a good book.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
This probably sounds trite, but: my kids. The old saying that all children are born artists is a cliché for a reason—they truly create without hang-ups and rules and with a sense of adventure.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
I was really lucky to have had an incredible childhood, growing up in a small suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Summers were largely spent on the lake, both at home and at our family cabin ‘up north.’ Hours and hours of craw daddy hunting, fishing off the dock and outdoor exploring with my brother Jeffrey, who has Down Syndrome. I’m from a big family but as the “oops” last child, Jeffrey was the only sibling I remember living and playing with. Hard to pick one specific memorable moment because pretty much the whole shebang was pure joy and sunshine and dirty bare feet. I do recall one of my favorite, earliest memories was being catapulted high in the air by my much-older brothers, coming down with a big splash in the lake out front.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Probably coffee, because without that one, nothing else works!
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
My favorite room in our house is our main living room. It has a big picture window with a view of our wooded backyard, fireplace, and wall to wall shelves that hold all my kooky collections, textile stacks, books, tchotchkes, and of course, treasured art from fellow artists I admire. The ample seating is arranged to encourage hours of lively conversations over cocktails with friends and not a TV in sight. Nearly everything is thrifted and vintage; nothing is too precious.
What is your biggest score online?
Just about all of my cherished textiles and rugs are scored off eBay. I once got a huge vintage hand-stitched suzani that’s gorgeous for practically pennies, and my big Baluchi rug in the living for something like $80.
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective?
I think collectives are a great place for both seasoned collectors as well as someone just getting their feet wet in regards to investing in original art. Buying this way feels personal, unintimidating and tailor-made to finding a special piece that fits a client’s own style and budget. My biggest piece of advice for someone new to buying original art is to go with your gut. Invest in art that means something to YOU and will bring you joy every time you see it hanging on your wall. And get to know the artist, become friends with the artist! As a collector myself, I love having a personal connection with the maker behind the piece. It lends a deeper connection with the things that we choose to surround ourselves by.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
The Whitney Museum of American Art is such a cool space with amazing exhibits. I went to school in New York and go up to visit good friends and stuff my face til I’m cross-eyed as often as I can, and I always try to spend a couple of hours roaming around this museum to fill up the inspiration tank. Bold, colorful artwork and thought-provoking installations.
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
My favorite hotel was this small boutique place we stayed on our honeymoon on Harbour Island called Coral Sands Hotel. We got married on a little island off Nassau in the Bahamas with an intimate gathering of thirty or so friends and family in attendance. After a full week of socializing and booze cruises, Coral Sands was exactly the kind of sleepy, picturesque beach vacation we needed to recover. Countless books read and games of backgammon played on the pink sand beach, everything bright white, and lots of wicker. Idyllic.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
Red. My signature is a warm red—it’s bold but goes with everything. I don’t mind standing out in a crowd and at this point in my life, have embraced my quirks with gusto.
I can never get on a plane without….
A book or a magazine. Although as a mom of three young children, when was the last time I’ve actually enjoyed an inflight book! …so can I change my answer to a Sherpa sized backpack full of snacks and kiddo activities??
How did you get into the world of art?
I’ve always been creative, preferring art camps to athletic activities as a kid. My mom was artistic too and she would sit down with me at the kitchen table to paint or sketch with charcoal sticks when I was four or five years old. Every birthday or Christmas would bring a fresh influx of art supplies. Having said that, I never knew one could actually pursue art as a legitimate profession until I was much older—maybe my mid to late twenties. I went to school for Psychology and would have gone to grad school to become some kind of therapist or social worker had I gotten residency in Arizona, where I was living after undergrad. My husband is a pilot so we moved around a lot and as a result, I did a lot of odd jobs where I would paint whenever I could but still just for fun at that point. I took a break when I had my first and second child and was mired in the sleepless, exhausting phases of infancy and toddlerhood. Once I got my footing as a parent (or at least a little bit—do we ever truly have a footing?), I started picking up the paintbrush again. It wasn’t until someone close to me suggested I get a website and start selling work that the lightbulb went on about five years ago. I wish I’d had the confidence and direction to pursue art and formal training way back when, but I have come to realize that all my life experiences and meandering have helped shape me in such a way that I feel like the art I make reflect those acquired attitudes and vibes. I don’t take myself too seriously, I celebrate my “weird”, and always, always, aim to have fun in the studio.
What do you do to relax?
I love to go thrifting and explore antique shops. Never not redecorating. My husband loves me.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
Hands down, textile and rug hunting on eBay is like creative jet fuel for me. I have a watch list about a mile long and let myself fall down a rabbit hole regularly to take in all the colors and shapes and compositions. I love checking out tribal folk art and other hand made textiles, the craftsmanship just blows my mind. I’ll screenshot pics to save for a studio session.
Prediction for the Color of 2019?
Please let it be a neon of some sort!
What is your idea of a date night?
This is pretty cheesy but I think I’d love to have more old fashioned dates like mini golf and bowling. My husband and I will often get a babysitter so we can ride roller coasters at Busch Gardens for a few hours.
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
Wow, that’s a tough one. I don’t think I have a single favorite one but I tend to have the hardest time selling the first painting in a new series or direction. It represents a breakthrough and having found a groove that feels the most authentic in terms of revealing my personal style. The last year especially has been exhilarating for me professionally because I feel like I’m finally trusting myself and my choice of color and composition. My painting techniques have felt less forced and I’ve stopped questioning whether it’s good or bad and just gone for it. I’m not emulating anyone else or trying to follow in someone else’s footsteps. As a result, my work--through often widely varied in color palettes from one piece to the next--feels more cohesive than it ever has, and it’s really gratifying to be able to step back from a collection of work and see my signature marks all over it.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Let the art pick you, instead of the other way around. <3