ARTIST STATEMENTI am a woman. I am a woman of color. I am a woman of color over 50. I am a woman of color over 50 who paints touchable art - TOUCH THE ART!
Our world is a difficult place to live in these days. I try to focus on the positive and wonderful things that human beings do and are capable of even while I'm being bombarded with the negative and horrific things that human beings do and are capable of. As an artist I can choose to illuminate the negative in hopes of fostering change, or I can choose to elevate the beautiful that already exists.
My antidote against the negativity is color. Color is my shield against the darkness. Color is my battle cry against a world that would paint us all in shades of black, in shades of white, in shades of nothing - white walls, black walls, blank walls. Color has the power to uplift, soothe, calm, energize, inspire. Color can simply make us feel better in any given moment - as evidenced by the change in mood that a sunny day versus a rainy day produces.
I am drawn to color; I am excited by textures and energized by movement. When I create, I select combinations of colors and then apply them to a canvas while I do my best to keep my thought process uninvolved. I prefer to move instinctively. I paint quickly and complete every art work in one sitting - regardless of how long it takes. The goal is to capture the energy of that one moment, to blend the colors while the paint is wet so the blending is seamless, and to create textures that give life and movement to the work.
My art is meant to be touched. I am extravagant with paint so that I can create textures that are intriguing and welcoming. The desire to touch is instinctive when people view my art in person so I encourage them to do just that. By enabling them to engage with my art work on a more personal level, their experience is intensified and suddenly 'art' becomes something more. Touch my art and feel something, anything... but have an art experience like no other and call it your own.
By making my art touchable, I reject the conventions that force us to keep our hands in our pockets and our enthusiasm politely in check even while our fingers and minds and hearts are itching to touch, to get involved, to engage.
We live in a world crawling with judgement. The list of things we are not allowed to do grows every day. I want people to experience art in a different way. We have had the wonder beaten out of us on so many levels. I just want to bring a little of it back.
Suzann Kingston was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1958 and grew up on Cape Breton Island on the East Coast of Canada. The expanse and beauty of the Atlantic Ocean ( the visual backdrop to her teenage years) left an indelible impression.
Introduced to art in junior high school, Suzann discovered Vincent Van Gogh, drawing and photography. High school led to art school and a visit to New York City where the treasures of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art were revealed and she got to see her favorite painting in person - Van Gogh's, 'The Starry Night'.
When Suzann looks at her art now and thinks back to those days, she can see where her desire to paint with bold colors, create rich textures and explore abstract themes was born. But at that time, another dream took precedence.
Having been bitten by the performing bug in high school, she entered Dalhousie University's music program and began her classical training in opera. A performance career that spanned several decades saw her on stages cross the country singing everything from opera to jazz. This journey led her to Vancouver, British Columbia where a personal crisis ended her performing career. She began writing to deal with the loss of a dream and produced several books which she self-published.
And then, one day, while visiting an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, she saw several of Van Gogh's paintings - mere inches away. The desire to return to the creating of visual art was reawakened. On impulse, that very same day, she decided that she wanted to explore creating with paint.
Completely self-taught, she let her instincts guide her and the resulting, growing body of work has been branded: TOUCH THE ART TODAY! Suzann combines vibrant colors with a multitude of textures that make people not only want to look at her art, but also touch it - which she encourages. She wants her viewers to not only feel the power of color to intrigue, delight and uplift, but to literally explore the tactile reality of paint on canvas... to experience her art with more than one sense.
Every summer, Suzann takes her art to the people by setting up an open-air, art gallery beside the breathtaking beauty of English Bay. She is introducing locals and tourists alike to the beauty and necessity of art but also getting them to engage with her art on a more personal level by touching it. As a result, her art is making its way into homes around the world.
Nature plays a major role in her artwork, as does the lure of the abstract. As she continues to create, her textures evolve as she experiments with new and different ways to manipulate paint even as she is creating the overall work. Her color palette grows as well as she works to bring unexpected combinations of colors together in a harmonious way that will intrigue the eye.
Suzann lives, paints and works in downtown Vancouver minutes away from the Pacific Ocean, the North Shore Mountains and the stunning beauty that is Stanley Park.
Photo by Garry Checora