Author Archives: Suzanne Gibbs

About Suzanne Gibbs

Suzanne Gibbs works industriously, making repetitive moves while working on paper or wood panels. Instead of making many perfectly executed works of art, she embraces her purposeful inaccuracies. Her fluid process of making, writing, vandalizing, creating, cutting, and repeated mark-making results in work of unrestrained containment. Her tool kit is varied and always changing including some form of paint, drawing implements, scissors, and adhesive. Suzanne has published two illustrated books and has continuously created an artist blog since 2010. She spent her formative years in Mexico and Brasil, returning to the United States in time for high school. She holds a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University, a Master of Science degree in Communication from University of Portland, and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. Suzanne was born in 1965 in Madison, WI and currently splits her time between California and Oregon.

Venturing Out

For those of you following my journey, you’ll know that in late June I embarked on a personally created artist residency (typically artist residencies are about going somewhere else to make art in a new community, I reversed the idea and focused in from home-base).

I am pleased to report that I have nearly 20 paintings finished. I found so much joy while working 8 to 16 hour days painting, thinking about painting, preparing and finishing paintings, imagining the next painting, mixing colors, and having a photographer come to my studio to take professional images.

My world has swirled with flurried activity—then crashing into deep sleep late at night or even occasional mid-afternoon naps.

Now the time has come to venture out of my studio and bring the work to my community—you and others!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Tea Cup Face, painting on wood with mixed media, 14 x 11 inches. $1000

This new series began to take root last summer. I was re-purposing envelopes. Specifically, the inside patterns from security envelops to create art for Art-O-Mat. The more envelopes that I cut open and tore apart the more I began to think about the use and meaning of a product as banal as an envelope.

Security envelopes are taken for granted. They do their job of hiding critical information. The envelopes gave me entry to a question I have had locked inside of me for years. Are social norms that we all, and especially myself, take for granted working like security envelopes?

I questioned the function of the product—and by extension, my role in social norms. For me, my new series: “Shhh, Say Nothing” is about stories hidden inside ourselves.

The curiosity and confusion I feel is expressed through abstract portraits.

Below, is an image of one of the first collage pieces I made when I was in the development stage of this new body of work.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Shhh, Say Nothing Series study, Flashe paint mixed media collage.

I don’t hold anger

…but many women do. Anger at being treated unfairly. Anger at being asked to do the unthinkable. Anger for hurts that have gone unresolved. And more.

I don’t hold anger, but I do wish for systemic change.

I wish for our voices to be heard. I dream about—well, you know—a utopian world were all people are treated with equal respect, kindness, and compassion. Where we all feel hope, love, and a chance for joy.

A world without fear.

I know I am not alone. I know that while I work towards change with a quiet creative heart and personal mindfulness others are using anger as motivation and voice. There is a place for this anger. The shit is real. I allow for others to have that voice, the pain, the anger too. I urge you to read the article link above should you need to understand why women are mad and frustrated.

For each story I read I can think of a story of my own.

I have stories I have never shared and stories I have shared with only a precious few. Somehow, the gift of my creative voice has tempered my anger. My voice is quietly visual. Working my way through anger to joy—and from there I hold hope for change. At the very least, I hope for each of us to have a chance to share our stories.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Double Bind Bubble Up, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 36 x 36 inches. $3600

While in graduate school I learned of the idea of “bearing witness.” Meaning, that by sharing our experiences and knowing that someone else knows of an injustice, a pain, a failing of our social systems, or any other traumatic experience—there is then a chance for healing and lessening of anger and hurt.

At the time, I was learning and listening as a student and the theoretical angles of what bearing witness means. Today, I am stepping towards the concept of being a person that does actually bear witness to other people’s stories as I connect the words of others to the images of my work.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” —Maya Angelou

My hope is to create a book of art with collected essays (stories) as told to me, or written for me.

Please, if you are interested in sharing your story, no matter how angry you feel, I am here. I will gladly welcome what you have to say with an open heart and my listening soul. Each of the paintings in my “Shhh, Say Nothing” Series requires a personal story. We can use full names, or first names only. Either way, we are bearing witness to your agony. Thus creating room for healing—which is truly a gift. Systemic change is a dream, the people along the way that share and affect other human lives, this is the utopian wish.

I talk through art making.

I have had the luxury of remaining open to my naiveté and curiosity throughout my life. I have been fortunate to receive an education that allows me to systematically ask questions and wonder about current  social norms that seem not quite right to me. And, like so many women before me and so many women still today, I have felt the need to say nothing  about the marginalization of what is typically seen as women’s work in order to keep things as they are…

For Too long

Too many

Have been

Too too quiet

Holding our voices

Too much of saying nothing

To keeping the status quo as is

Too constricted by societal norms.

I no longer wish to shut my mouth. I know what I think and feel is not nothing. I wish to silence the voice inside me that says, “Keep quiet!”

Because I held my tongue for most of my life—my strongest voice became visual. I talk through my art. I gather data, research, learn, think, reflect, and feel—then I express myself visually in paintings and drawings. Once I see what I have made, I can begin to voice the ideas both verbally and in writing.

 

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Boa Constrictor, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 48 x 36 inches. $4200

 
My paintings attempt to expose the tedious labor that  must be done (often by women) or the scaffolding of society as we know it will fall apart.
 
To continue to see more posts like this one, please be sure to join me on Patreon.

Toni Morrison, an inspiration even in death.

First, let me say and send my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and devoted readers of Toni Morrison.

Now I’d like to say what inspired me to write about Toni Morrison today.

I found a quote about her from her family on Lit Hub Daily that touched and rocked me to the core.

Here is the quote:

“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends. She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”

My whole life—short life at 54—I have wrestled with art vs. family priorities and passions. This quote serves as an example to me to no longer struggle, but to instead embrace the two parts of my passions and deep love as being equally valid and important.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Empty Waiting, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 16 x 16 inches. $1600. Available directly from the artist.

I’ll take a step forward and publicly feel what it would be like if an obituary had been written about me. However, before I do, I’d like to let you know that I have a goal of living to be 100! My grandmother was in her 90’s when she passed away, my goal is 100% humanly possible! So, I am in no way saying: Off I go!

Now for the rewrite, as if I had died:

It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our cherished Suzanne Gibbs, passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends. She was an extremely devoted, sensitive, and tender person who reveled in spending time with her family and dearest friends. The inimitable artist who treasured the creative force within all of us was most at home while painting. She filled her soul when playing in nature—on hikes, especially among trees and on water or in water. Although her death represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long and well lived life.

Again, Toni Morrison, you will be missed and you will always be loved for the creative work you brought into this world. May you rest in peace.

Dear readers, I invite you to consider today what is most important to you—and go for it! There is so much sadness in the world and in our country, I send you love. When we are together, we will hug. Namasté

For inquiry about purchasing art on this post click here.

Art Show on the Boardwalk

A look at work I made for the Wings—Wind—Waves Port of Bandon Boardwalk Art Show. Show ends on September 18, 2019.

I decided to paint a kite boarder on the waves pretending to have wings (the kite in the wind)!

Full image! The holes are there to hang the work on the boardwalk fence.

 

Detail of wind.

 

Detail of water (waves) and sand.

 

Yes! I did paint a tiny person in the water.

Yes! It really IS this windy in Bandon Oregon! I am sitting on the boardwalk to take the picture. Come see the work!

Personal Artist Residency Program

Beginning on July 1, 2019 and continuing through either end of September or end of October I will be doing an “at home” self-directed artist residency.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Purple Lipped Confusion, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches.

The painting above represents the 5th painting in a new series. In order to approach galleries and art representation I need a series of at least 20 pieces.

A full and fully realized body of work is what it takes to “go pro.”

My goal is 30 paintings by October 31st.

During June I nearly finished 3 more in the series that have not been publicly shown, yet on social media or the internet. Here is the math:

30 paintings – 8 complete = 22
22 paintings / 3 months = 7+ per month
22 paintings / 4 months = 5.5 paintings per month

Each painting takes me from 40 to 80 hours to complete.

Possibly 3 to 4 months will not be enough time. Possibly I can step up production. As in any business or undertaking there is always a point at which one must fully commit to the endeavor and see what happens. See what is possible.

I am excited…
…and also a bit panicky.

I have the supplies ready to go for 27 paintings. Most are larger than 14 x 11 inches (the smallest size so far in this series).

A hint hint reminder: I have stickers available for sale—2 for $6 includes shipping. These will help offset a small portion of the supplies costs of this project. If these successfully sellout I will print a new batch from a new painting for August.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Detail of Purple Lipped Confusion with a sticker, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches. $2400

Work On Tour Internationally

I am thrilled to announce that my tiny Sketchbook, Tiny Doodle People has been chosen to travel internationally!

©2019. Tiny Doodle People Sketchbook by Suzanne Gibbs Art. Cover image.

Yes, this sketchbook is pictured next to an actual US stamp. Yes, this sketchbook is this small… tiny actually! Based on the cover image, can you find the book in the travel suitcase shown here? Comment below! 😉

©2019, Tiny Sketchbook: Tiny Doodle People for the Tiny Sketchbook Project. (Image taken from The Sketchbook Project, without permission, and very grateful for the chance to participate in their event. Thank you.)

In Paris on Friday June 28th & Saturday, June 29th, 2019

In London at the Other Art Fair from Thursday, July 4 – Sunday, July 7 2019.

©2019, Tiny Sketchbook page Tiny Doodle People of Suzanne Gibbs Art.

 

I’m So Jumpy! and happy and excited to have work on tour internationally!

Stickers!

For the first time ever! My art on stickers!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Detail of Purple Lipped Confusion with a sticker, painting on wood with mixed media collage, 24 x 24 inches. Original Painting $2400. 2 stickers for $6!

2 Stickers for $6!

Includes shipping and handling. Limited to the first 45 customers (because I only printed 100 stickers).

Raw Unedited Unscripted Studio Visit Via Video

For the first time I sat down in front of my work—as yet unfinished—and I talked about the work. Unscripted. Unplanned. Raw and real words about the series of work I am calling: Say Nothing. I present my work here as a prelude to a hatching Patreon page later in 2019.

I am a little worried as I share this that I am not the right person to start the conversation, but I feel compelled to do so. In a few weeks time I will keep sharing stories of why I am doing this, and I also hope to bring you the stories of other women.

Would you like to share your story of unpaid labor and the difference it made to the people you care about? Contact me, I’d love to chat!

©2019, Detail from one of the paintings in the Say Nothing series.