At home with Suzanne Heilmann

Sometimes you just want to hang out with your friends, drink red wine, and eat delicious nibbles. It helps when your friends are talented, artistic, interesting people because then we can interview them, and turn them into a blog post! Multi-tasking is our bag.

We went to local New Milford artist Suzanne Heilmann’s beautiful home (built in 1790) to capture some shots of her work and ask her a question or two. Just what makes an artist tick? Also in girlfriend-hangout-attendance, actor/director/artist Yolonda Ross (read her interview next week).

Suzanne Heilmann is a texturalist. Read on…

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“This portrait that was done of me (age 8) in Mexico City. The artist was a Danish painter, married to a Mexican. I think both of them were artists. She asked my mother if she could do the portrait. She said that she would paint me as a grown up. At the time I did not have a thin face and she pronounced my eyes and jaw bone.”

INTERVIEW TIME

Bev: What kind of artist are you, what exactly is a texturalist?

Too often people want to pigeon hole you, and that’s how I came up with the idea of a texturalist. Somebody once asked me, what is the one thing that ties everything together and I said, there’s texture in everything that I do. So that’s how that was born.

For the first time now, I’ve just been pushing what I love, and that is, that I am a texturalist, this is what I do. I can transcend through all kinds of mediums whether it’s painting or multi-medium. I get bored if I do the same thing over and over again. I have to be true to myself. I push the envelope, I ask myself, where can I push this that’s different? Not that anything and everything hasn’t been done before, but what different level can I find that really is interesting for the time that we’re in now.

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“Made in America” Copper 3-dimensional flag, back lit with red and blue lights

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“FOUR SEASONS” Corrugate leaves, acrylic paint

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“MEMORIALIZED in White” 3-dimensional dress cast in oil paint

Lora: As an artist do you feel like you just have to do what speaks to you? Or do you think, what do people like? What do people want to see? Do they want to see the paintings of fruit…or is it just you?

I think it’s exactly me. I get these ideas and they’re wacky, and I’m like OMG I’m going to try this and some of the things that I’ve done, I’ve thought “these will never sell” and the two pieces that I thought wouldn’t sell, sold! For example, I sold the “ex-boyfriend” jeans, I had thought nobody is going to ever want the ex-boyfriend jeans! But they can connect to certain things, and that’s why they say it’s in the eye of the beholder. You either are going to love it, or think, what was she thinking!?

When the muse comes to you, you almost feel like you’re possessed; out come the paints and you’ve just got to do it!

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SUBCUTANEOUS” which means: located or placed just beneath the skin.

“I took the top of the violin, cut it and reconstructed it by making the front the back. This created drop shadows and an interesting 3-D element. Violin bow is suspended. I carved the “F hole/Sound holes” out of wood, also the chin rest. All other parts are original.”

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“BLUE VIEW” 1800’s copper. Art can be hung vertically or horizontally or can be turned into a dining table with glass suspended on top.

What’s on your “to-do” list for your career as an artist?

My ultimate goal is to find representation by a premier art gallery or artist rep. and at some point in my career, be part of Art Basel. Exposure is the key to development and expansion. I keep experimenting and evolving my art pieces year after year, by engineering more complex, thought-provoking layers of “texture” which includes the 3-dimensional elements.

I would like to expand my “Texturalist” realm, by making the pieces more interactive with the viewer (onlooker).

Lora: We’ll come with you when you go to Art Basel!

Lastly, our standard question these days…Where do you usually get your best ideas for your work, Bev often has great ideas when she’s brushing her teeth…

I think the shower for me!

Wine, nibbles, and chat – ain’t nothing better!

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Suzanne Heilmann203-232-1505

Words: Beverley Canepari, photos by Lora Warnick