Artist Interview: Suzanne Baxter
Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Suzanne has lived in San Francisco for nearly 20 years. Throughout careers in different industries, art has always been her passion but not her focus... until now. She graduated from California College of the Arts in 2011 and has been building up her creative arsenal since then. In 2018, Suzanne began to explore her drawings on a larger scale, resulting in several of the murals you see at Ciel. She describes her work as where her left brain meets her right brain, where OCD meets disregard for routine. The art comes very naturally to her and she's excited by the reception it has received.
You can see more of Suzanne's work throughout the Bay Area and in Los Angeles.
How did you come to pursue art?
Long conference calls, high school history class and meetings. I've always doodled to help myself focus in less stimulating situations, these doodles have grown into my art.
What is your artistic process - do you have an idea of how something will turn out beforehand or does it develop as you draw?
I've heard my process described as "open brain." I walk up to a canvas and see where my mind takes me. I've been fortunate enough to have clients that don't need to see the finished piece before I begin. For the bigger pieces (ie murals), music plays a big part in the energy and movement of the art. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I'm doing more detailed work. I love getting lost in the process.
What was your first experience bringing a doodle off the paper and onto the wall?
A friend of mine lives in an old, perfectly San Francisco warehouse in the Dogpatch and offered me one of her walls. With her one eyed cat by my side, and her roommate practicing his bass, I got over my nerves and surprised myself by how natural and fulfilling it was to draw at that scale. I've been looking for more walls ever since.
What do you typically listen to when you create?
David Bowie, The Stone Roses and my annual Shazam'd playlists are my go-tos. Let's be honest - there's a lot of Robyn, ONJ, old school country and yacht rock in those lists - and I play them over and over, and sing along every time.
Has living in the bay area, surrounded by the tech scene, influenced your art?
Absolutely. While I am very appreciated of being a part of the tech scene, it reminds me more and more to get away from it. Drawing with a pen, not a stylus, on paper, not a screen - it takes me to a different place when I go back to analog. Of course I'm listening to my Spotify podcasts on my noise cancelling headphones at the same time, so yeah.. you have to live and love it all.
Where do you want your next large installation to be?
Anywhere! Who wants one!?