I met artist Susan Eliza during the MemFix Edge District event on Saturday. The Marshall Arts Gallery had an open house during that time, and when I went to take a peak at one (well actually two now that I think about it), of my friend’s old space, I was stopped in my tracks by one of her pieces. Art doesn’t always move me, but there was something about her piece that drew me in.
We chatted for a few about her background (it’s in Design + Architecture, which is were she began her career before deciding to take the leap and become a full-time artist a few years ago), and she told me the story behind the piece. While out dancing with friends at a rooftop party, she notice her friend Sharmana surrounded by people but dancing in her own world, wearing a cute little necklace that said superstar. Our friends can inspire us in the most amazing ways, no?
Another piece she had in her studio that I loved was Poe, inspired the story of Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, Edgar Allen Poe’s young bride, that died from tuberculosis (and who was subsequently the inspiration for his poem Annabel Lee).
The mixed media piece is a great representation of her exploration of beauty, death, sexuality, and identity, which are common threads throughout her art work. She had more pieces in her studio, but these two were my favorite.
It was great meeting an artist that was so open about her work and where she pulls inspiration from; her personal journey was so relatable (I know all too well the initial struggle that comes with making a major career change), but her encouraging words (surround yourself with friends that support you) will stay with me.
To see more of Susan’s work, visit www.susaneliza.com. Her design work is listed as well (AH-Mazing!). She splits her time between Memphis + New York, so catch her while you can!