Meet Belinda Suzette: a cross-disciplinary artist who lives in a playful, folk-inspired world teeming with colourful critters. Using a mixture of digital and traditional mediums (including a well-stocked box of coloured pencils), she goes about creating intricately detailed characters that roam around her imagination. Curiouser and curiouser.
What is your name and how old are you? Belinda Suzette: old enough to be cryptic, young enough to be coy.
Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in the Northern Tablelands of NSW, bred atop the volcanic soil of Northern NSW, and now divide my time between Melbourne metropolis and the picturesque valley of Piggabeen.
How does where you grew up and where you live now affect your art? Where I grew up is so very beautiful and inspirational. It is definitely in its nature where the foundation for my art-making was nurtured. Where I live now provides the means and opportunity for art to be my full-time vocation. It is where I can meet others regularly who make art, love art, live art like I do.
Please describe the space where you do most of your creation – whether it's your art studio or kitchen bench! I have an in-house studio which has recently been converted to part nursery/part work space in the anticipation of our new arrival! So at the moment it is a delightful fusion of all my favourite decorative objet d'art as well as all my favourite pieces of art-making bits and bobs. The space is truly an homage to creation!
What kind of mediums do you use? Why do you choose to use these mediums? My work is a fusion of digital and traditional mediums. I love to use watercolour, chalk pastels, ink and collage, and to play around with Photoshop. I crave texture, colour, pattern and design, which is partly why I love these materials.
Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind? I usually make whatever comes to my mind, unless directed by a client of course. However, there seems to be a theme to whatever comes to my mind. Absurdist, animalistic, geometric, mathematic, character-driven critters are often my first port of call. Since I became the in-house artist and designer for Suitcase Rummage, there are definitely a lot of suitcases featured in my art! I also love to portray travel on pushbikes and roller skates and trains and boats.
What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment? An animation for musician Susy Blue, an illustrated book of my poems and short stories, a creative campaign for Suitcase Rummage and a complete illustrated alphabet for my wee poppet when he arrives.
If you were to teach an art appreciation class, what kind of lessons would you try to teach your students? I teach illustration at TAFE, and the number one lesson I endeavour to impart to my students is this: we are so incredibly lucky to be living in a country and time where we can devote our lives to making art and live well doing so. Half-hearted art is a lucky life wasted. If we don't love what we do, and treasure the freedom that allows us to do it, and do it passionately and with gusto, we've no business being artists.
Which era of art do you appreciate the most? There are too many!! I love early 20th century Dadaism, Abstract Expressionism and graphic design of the '50s, European illustration from the '70s, the nostalgic return to craft and illustration we are currently experiencing.
What do you doodle when you are daydreaming? Letters, numbers, geometrics.
What other budding artists do you love? Hilde Thomsen, Josh Callaghan, Laura Wood and I keep a very keen eye on Emily Nelson.
What do you enjoy doing when not creating art? Listening to music, making music, playing with my pup Scout, lying under the strawberry tree and watching Felix the finch hop about, walking, walking, walking, drinking coffee with my man and hatching plans, going to the cinema, swimming at the beach, eating good food, decorating the house, organising happenings, writing poems in cafes, reading books in the bath when it rains.
Where can we see more of your work? My blog is the most up-to-date place to see my work. I have a website too, and will be launching a new one before the year is out. I also sell prints of my art each month at Suitcase Rummage Melbourne.