We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan J. Osborn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I equate adventure with risk. Without a sense of adventure, one would not take a risk. Curiosity sparks adventure. So, in my case, I am a curious person willing to adventure and take a risk. This can be seen when I am curious to learn something new (even knowing I am bad at it.) I am curious about other worlds and have travelled countries. I am willing take a risk by not knowing what will await in a new culture. Will I be prepared? It’s this same attitude I have about being creative. What will happen if I add this paper to a canvas or paint it a different color? I take more risk in my art making now that I have built up enough confidence to adventure out in new creative territory using new mediums. After being an artist for so many years I depend on exploration, risk, failing, and sometimes putting together materials that just won’t work together. Every creative piece is an adventure and a risk of not being able to communicate what I am feeling to others. I just hope to be lucky and come out with art that speaks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have made some significant changes in my art since February 2020. I was really missing painting which I had not done since 2007. I had been working in assemblage from 2007 until 2020. My training is in drawing and painting. I knew there were lots of new art materials available and so I felt the best way to learn was to enjoy the wonderful “play days” at the home of Lisa Bebi, a Golden rep. Her help got me painting again. Then I became inspired by the work of Merion Estes who uses fabric in her artwork. I found the patterns in fabric directed the movement in my art. Fabric has become a great addition to my painting also using painted paper and acrylic. I started out abstractly by following the patterns and color of the fabric. My work became a bit more representational as I completed over fifteen works of large size (at least 22” x 28”.) I have now moved to landscape based on a valley where I live. How did I get to where I am today? I think one must grab opportunities and take risks. I was fortunate to have a teaching position at The Bishop’s School where my art making was supported. The challenges I have faced and still do are to promote and market my brand. It is always hard find the correct audience. I know I must keep going and publish to social media, daily. Time and endurance have helped get me to where I am today. I find it difficult to include political themes or current events in my work. Going to the studio to create is a time for my imagination to soar making the joys in life, beauty and fun in my art.
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.
The first stop would be at the Point Loma National Monument. There we could look out over San Diego Bay and my visitor could get an awareness of the geography of San Diego. We would go to the beaches and do a short walk. Then to Balboa park. So much to do there as well as great restaurants. We would visit San Diego Museum of Art as well as San Diego Art Institute. The next day would be Oceanside Museum of Art as well as a walk on the pier there. Lunch at 333 Pacific. If there is time, I would like to go to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad and take a look at an art exhibit at Front Porch Gallery. By now we may be feeling tired but a walk up Torrey Pines State Beach to the top and then through the trails overlooking the ocean. The trails will lead us down to the surf and be refreshing. Then stop at Seasalt Del Mar for lunch. Next is a time to just sit in the sun and relax at the beach, again – either Coronado Beach or Imperial Beach. There are still a few more days, so today will be a trip to the Santa Ysabel Art Gallery and Julian to see art, window shop and have a Buffalo Burger with apple pie. Might fit in a stop at Dudley’s bakery, as well. Back to Balboa Park for a day at the zoo. Most visitors also want to see our desert. A trip to Salvation Mountain is on the list for the last day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh my goodness! There are so many! I am indebted to West Coast Drawing, Oceanside Museum of Art, Jenifer G. Spencer for including me in her book, “The Artist Portrait Project” and Fred Orth who was my teacher and mentor in graduate school at SDSU. I also thank my dear artist friends in the Feminist Image Group FIG) collective who have supported me. I dedicate this to the gallery curators the art educators and my collectors.
Facebook: Susan J Osborn Art
photos by Susan J Osborn