Meet the Artist: Susan Brand
Susan Brand is participating in the SOMA Artists Tour on Sunday.
Over the past eight years, the phrase “the first Sunday in June” has become synonymous with the visual arts in South Orange and Maplewood. This is the day reserved for the popular South Orange Maplewood Artists Studio Tour. Newly improved and sporting a new logo, the 2012 tour boasts an expanded website with interactive maps and artist information, and one additional and particularly welcome new feature: this years’ South Orange Maplewood Artists Studio Tour will be free for visitors. Visit the site to plan your tour.
In anticipation of the event, a number of artists were willing to answer questions about their work and what they will be showing on the studio tour this year. Here is an interview with Susan Brand.
What is the most important idea of our time?
We need to return to a mindset that honors the planet. We are destroying our own home. We need to see ourselves as only one part of nature - the most destructive element within it - and regain our sense of responsibility to Mother Earth.
What compels you to create?
I take a camera with me everywhere I go. I'll catch a certain glimpse of a flower, leaf, sky, or pattern and snap a picture or make a sketch. I try to capture the memory of that glimpse in the painting. When I have a visual in mind, I can't stop thinking about it until it's expressed.
Is there something about your studio space that is special?
My studio is on the 3rd floor of my house. It's quiet and sunny and feels like working in a treehouse. I move between my garden and my studio when I work. I love having so much inspiration just outside my back door.
How would you describe the artwork that you create?
I create art that celebrates the fleeting beauty of nature and our struggle to define our relationship to nature.
When did you start making art?
I can't remember when I started making art. It's always been an important aspect of my life. I knew in kindergarten that I would be an artist when I grew up.
What is your preferred medium? Why? How long have you been working in that medium?
I work primarily in watercolor and acrylic. I love the pigments and immediacy of watercolor and the resilience of acrylic.
I've worked with acrylic for more than 40 years - since I was a child. Although I've worked with opaque watercolors for 30 years, it's only over the last ten years that I've developed an appreciation for transparent watercolor.
What do you find beneficial about being an artist in South Orange and Maplewood community?
There are so many other artists here! There are also musicians, writers, actors, you name it. I love having the friendship and support of other creative people. There's always someone to show a work in progress or bounce an idea off of.
Have you ever exhibited on the studio tour before?
This is my first time on the Studio Tour.
Susan Brand is an artist and illustrator whose work reflects her devout interest in nature and the perpetual tension of the boundaries between man and nature. She works in a range of media including watercolors, acrylics, printmaking, and collage. Her early career was spent designing and directing animation for broadcast and special effects.
Her work resides in several private collections as well as the collection of the State Museum of New York. In 2012, Susan won 1st Prize in the Third Annual Sylvia Maria Glesmann Floral Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in New York. In 2010, she supplied the cover illustrations for the award-winning The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey.
She holds a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Susan lives and works in Maplewood, NJ.