Profile: Susan Winner and Her Art
March 13, 2009 – “I make art as an outlet for my creativity. It really helps me to block out any negativity that surrounds me. It really takes me to another place, a very peaceful place.”
So says Susan Winner, an artist with thalassemia, pictures of whose work can be found on this page. CAF spoke with Susan recently about her art and what it means to her.
CAF: How long have you been creating art? What got you interested in this?
Susan: I have been creating art since my mid-teens. I think I became interested in it because my father was a great illustrator, as well as my brother. (It was a hobby for both of them; neither had any formal training.)
How about you? Have you had any training or classes?
Yes, I attended college and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design and Art History.
What do you enjoy about making art?
I make art as an outlet for my creativity. It really helps me to block out any negativity that surrounds me. It really takes me to another place, a very peaceful place.
You’ve worked in a number of different media. Do you have a preference for one over another?
I really enjoy exploring all types of media – drawing, painting, sculpting, crafting – but I think I find oil painting the most fulfilling.
Which artists’ work do you admire? Who are your influences?
There are so many, but just to name a few: Frida Kahlo really moves me because much of her work comes from her struggle with illness, so that really speaks to me. I also love Georgia O’Keefe – her work is so unique. I really think she was way ahead of her time. I love Gustav Klimt; his work is very unusual. Magritte is great because his training was in Graphic Design like myself. The list can go on and on: Van Gogh, Picasso, all the greats.
What do you think your art expresses about yourself?
I think my art expresses my true nature, my happiness and contentment with my life.
Do you feel that your art, or some of your art work, is influenced to any degree by your experiences with thalassemia?
Yes, I do think that my art is influenced by my having thalassemia. It has to be, since it is such a huge part of who I am.
What else would you like to say?
I find that my art is a large part of me and that I really like the idea that my work will exist long after I am gone.