We had the good fortune of connecting with Susie Zol and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susie, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor for my continued success is staying true to myself. I know which paintings are my most authentic because they sell so quickly! There is a connection between the viewer and the painting that is immediate. Some describe it by saying I painted exactly what they were feeling! I enjoy this very much and know it is a result of my ability to create art that is unique to me. My way of holding the brush, my way of spreading the paint, my way of making a mark. If I overthink or overwork a painting, I’m not painting from my heart and it shows. The paintings become standard or ordinary. I have a few favorite rituals to help me get and stay in my authentic zone so I can paint freely without harsh criticism or comparison. I believe that staying true to myself when I paint will always keep me successful in my painting career.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
If you saw my work today for the first time, you might think I’ve got it all figured out! Well it certainly has taken me a lifetime to get where I am but all figured out?, not yet! I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist but when I was young I don’t think I knew what that meant. I knew I enjoyed all forms of art and I liked using my hands to create but it wasn’t until high school that I realized I could choose to be an artist as career choice. My parent’s influence sidelined that choice and I received my education in business management. It wasn’t all bad as I owned a successful insurance business with my husband for 30 years and raised three children. I always managed to do some art on the side and when our youngest was getting ready for college, so was I! I completed a program at UCSD called Art and The Creative Process and fell in love with painting! In particular I was intrigued and inspired by art journaling and the way it opened my heart and soul. I attended many art journaling workshops and each time I got closer to understanding who I was as an artist, I was developing my voice, my style. Capturing the essence of the creative process is what inspires me. Whether it’s in a journal or on the canvas, the goal isn’t the painting itself but the act of painting and how it can hold joy and sorrow in the same place at the same time. That essence of life in the creative process is what I’m after when I paint, that is what keeps me connected to myself and my world. Life has a way of giving us all we ask for whether we want it or not and painting is the key I have found to help me unlock the mysteries and work toward figuring things out. I paint intuitively, letting layers of paint, fabric and paper interact and unfold into a story. When I discover the story within the painting, its meaning comes into focus. When the meaning has been revealed, my painting is complete.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m going to daydream a little here and remember the things I loved pre-Covid as our movements are currently restricted and many of the places I mention might be closed to the public. I love so many neighborhoods in San Diego and anyone visiting would agree they are all so different and charming in their own way. I love the beaches and the mountains and all the natural open spaces. I love the huge range of outdoor activities you can participate in, whatever you feel like doing, it’s here. The restaurants, breweries and wineries of San Diego are a unique blend of indie and multi-cultural flair. Then there are all the unique San Diego spots like the Zoo, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, Old Town, Liberty Station, La Jolla, and so much more. My hope is for all of us to stay healthy and positive so the future San Diego I show to my out of town guests is just as amazing as I remember.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been many talented teachers, supportive friends and encouraging business owners who have believed in my talent as an artist and opened many doors for me on my creative journey. There is one person who has seen it all and comes to mind immediately when words like support, mentorship, love and encouragement are used in one sentence. That is my husband Cami and this year we are celebrating 38 years of marriage.
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