Previous Shows: 2016: Making a World: Mud Castles and Strange Wild Places: An Interview

Susan Carr has been making mixed media objects and paintings for many years. Having met her through Facebook six years ago, I have been following her work closely ever since. I find it very alive, captivating, energetic, raw, and direct. Here are four questions and her answers about her life as an artist. 

~Frankie Gardiner  

1. FG: How have you come to making art?  

SC: I did not come to making art. Art found me. I was a lonely child in a colorful family and art making or just making a world of my own gave me solace and allowed for my imagination to soar. I was always highly curious of the natural world around me because I suppose at a very young age I wandered around in it so very much. There was a swamp outside of my home in North Carolina, a habitat for many species especially frogs and I would bring them into our little cardboard type house and put them in drawers. I think the swamp gave me a sense of what it meant to make inquiries into the unknown as it was muddy and dark. I loved the mud wading through that water all day. I think I bring that love of discovery to my work and also my curiosity. An as an aside I want to say I was a big mud castle girl so that thickness of paint could stem from those early adventures. 

2. FG: What caused you to transition to sculpture? 

SG: My transition to sculpture was early on in undergrad when I ran out of paint and used paint tube tops for a piece. The transition was seamless and obvious to me.  

3. FG: What are your biggest influences? 

SC: My biggest influences that is so tough because I love so much art and so many artists for so many different reasons. Phillip Guston has always been a huge influence in my work and especially the drawings I am making now. To go where no person has gone before is Guston, he had courage in spades when it came to making marks and just putting the work out there, Cy Twombly's sculptures I think of them often, their intimacy. Of course Louise Bourgeois I see her as one of my art angels. She was able to do many things in many different mediums, she had a sense of humor and was driven on a daily basis to make work. There are so many amazing artists here just incredible. Every single person I see on FB, IG are so great so talented, so helpful and giving of their art. It is really wonderful to have my eyes feast daily upon so much great work and I am grateful for it.  

4. FG: What are the stories you are telling with this body of work? 

SC: The story I am trying to tell with this body of work: With the wooden houses I am making a world, a little world I want to set up in some fashion perhaps together. They started out as totems, objects of my affection and now they seem to be talking to one and other with color and shape. The paintings became an extension of the totem idea as I like seeing sculptural aspects in a painting. I have found this to be very interesting to me and I often use natural objects found on walks by the ocean or in the forest in the paintings as well. My drawings are strange wild places where my unconscious allows itself to whatever it wants to be. I am grabbing the mic and making the punk music I have always wanted to. There has never been a better time than now to discover who I am on a daily basis, my kids have taught me that. I also want to thank Gerry who has lived this path with me for 23 years.