Suzanne is usually the one conducting the interviews with artists who exhibit with Freedom Hair Experience so it was about time that the tables were turned. For her exhibition ‘Adventures in Ink’ I (Irving) interviewed her. Here is what we spoke about…
- Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“This is my official blurb, which pretty much covers what I do!”
Suzanne Scott is an artist, illustrator and maker based in Dundee, Scotland. Working under the name WhimSical LusH she produces unique, quirky illustrations that she then features on ranges of prints, stationary, mugs and jewellery. She also enjoys photography and textiles. Suzanne’s work has featured in several solo and group exhibitions and there a number of shops and galleries throughout Scotland stocking her work. She regularly attends art events and markets throughout the year with a wide selection of work for sale, including many hand made one-off pieces.
- Have you always created?
“Yes, ever since I was a child I have loved creating and drawing and have always had a pretty good imagination.”
- What is your favourite piece that you have created and why have you chosen it?
“I think my current favourite piece would have to be two things: my artwork in BrewDog Dundee which features the biggest hand drawn and printed illustrations that I have ever done to date, including a 2×2 metre circus. Also the bottle label that I designed for their collaboration beer with Alechemy ‘Smoked in History’. It features the RRS Discovery ship in Dundee, that I turned into a ghost ship, flying both breweries flags! The beer was created using the smoke from timbers of the ship itself.”
- What has been your most challenging piece?
“The BrewDog circus print. It was pretty tricky figuring out how to print it so big without losing resolution but even trickier trying to paste it up onto the wall! It took two of us quite a while, and caused a lot of laughs in the process.”
- What inspires you?
“Pretty much everything around me, all the time. Especially nature.”
- Do you have favourite artists?
- What are your favourite materials/ tools/ equipment?
- Is your art your full time job? What do you do outside of your art? What are your hobbies? What do you love?
“It’s my full time job. Outside of that I love being outside exploring on foot or on my bike. I really love skiing too and being up in the mountains. Travelling is always high on the agenda when possible, as is going to gigs and hanging out with my friends and family.”
There are three questions that I prompt Suzanne to ask every artist who exhibits and she had been silently dreading me asking them as they are a lot more tricky than would initially appear!
- What is creativity?
“An extension of yourself. Making something appear in the physical world that only existed previously in your mind. A way of being.”
- How do you use it?
“In my everyday life, including my work. To relax. As a bit of a personal ‘therapy’ if I’m ever struggling with ‘stuff’.”
- Describe in 3 words:
“Imagination. Necessary. Fun.”
(This quote is what popped into my head when speaking to Suzanne about her work and how she constructs her drawings.
“If you have built castles in the sky
Let not your dreams go to waste;
Just build the foundations under them.”
― Henry David Thoreau
She had just described to me her way of drawing her little houses, something she hadn’t really considered too much before as it is quite an unconscious process for her most of the time. But upon thinking, pretty much every one of her little buildings is constructed from the rooftops down…. she builds her castles in the air, and then puts the foundations down! This thinking really suits her work as she is definitely a bit of a daydreamer, with thoughts in the clouds. She does eventually put down foundations though, in her own time.)
- Interesting – So like the Thomas Heatherwick Studios you are exploring possibilities?
“Yes, the little houses are always morphing and changing ever so slightly.” Suzanne replies.
The conversation turns to clouds, creating things out of patterns and textures on inanimate objects, Gestalt, filling blank spaces and turning daydreams into pieces of art and I ask
- Would you say you live your daydreams? Get out of your own head?
“Yes, quite a lot” she replies and we continue to chat about the mind trying to make sense out of chaos.
“My mood, surroundings and daily observations very much dictate what I draw if I’m not working on a commissioned piece.”
I ask about some of the other images that pop up in Suzanne’s work, the WhimBots (robots), Creatures (Rabbit, Boris the Bat & co.) and the little girl (Heather). She tells me that they are very much the storytellers. If she has a story to tell or a message to convey then they are the characters she will use to do so. I ask if different elements of her work ever come together, to which she replied
“Yes, sometimes the houses and inks will become background scenery for characters.”
- Could you teach what you do?
“The technicalities, yes, but it’s impossible to teach someone how you see the world and how exactly you move a pen on a bit of paper. But you can certainly talk someone through it to a certain extent.”
- Would you change anything?
“No…. not a thing! Everything has taught me something along the way. I have no regrets, even if occasionally the lessons have been tough ones!”
- Do you find it hard to let go of something if it’s not going well?
“I used to find it harder, but no, not so much now, especially if it’s for a commission. I want them to be as perfect as possible before they go out so they will often be scrapped and re-drawn several times along the way!”
- Going back… What advice would you give yourself?
“I would tell myself to stick with my dreams and goals, even if they seem impossible at the time.”
- But you did go to university to get ‘a proper job’ (as your parents said) and didn’t go to Art School. You studied psychology and social work?
“Yes, I did! But my art and being creative was always present, just in different forms to today. It was always my hobby but I also introduced into my work with young people when I was a social worker as one of my ways to communicate with them and help them with issues they were trying to work through. Art therapy has always been an interest of mine as on so many levels art is such a useful tool to help people.”
- You sometimes speak to students about your art and WhimSicAL LusH and have been asked about your ‘brand’.
“I will say that they have to look at their own work to find their own niche. That a ‘brand’ will become apparent if your work is natural and not forced. Look to those who are inspirational too.”
- I am a great believer in journals. Do you use them?
“Yes, when travelling I will write a journal. In day to day life my drawings serve as a bit of a journal as does my Instagram account, in many respects.”
Suzanne and I collaborate on many projects together and during my conversation with Suzanne I discovered that collaboration is something that she too relishes, currently she is collaborating in diverse projects with Brewdog brewery and also with Brewdog and Alechemy (a small brewery) with a RRS Discovery ship inspired label for their new beer ‘Smoked In History’. Suzanne also works with Diaosu a community social enterprise public art project and has just had jewellery produced with her designs in a collaboration with Alchemists Forge. She also enjoys regularly taking part in guerilla art projects alongside other artists such as Dymagate, around Dundee, Aberdeen and occasionally other cities and countries too. And finally Suzanne will be involved in, at present, a secret public art project for the new Dundee Waterfront. Her endless energy also regularly takes her to art fairs and public art events all round Scotland.
If you want to produce special work it means collaborating with special people from diverse disciplines Suzanne is one of those special people.
For more about Suzanne and her work, or for upcoming events, please look up WhimSicAL LusH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the WhimSicAL LusH Blog. You can also see her robot drawing project: The Great WhimBot Off on this blog!
Please feel free to contact her with any queries about stocking WhimSicAL LusH work or commissions on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some pictures from the exhibition:
The exhibition runs until the end of January! Do pop in and see it!