Badass Women in Bed: Artist Susie McKay Krieser
Susie McKay Krieser is an award winning artist, and her artwork can be viewed around the globe. She is without question a badass woman and also exceedingly wise. Having lived an extraordinary life, Susie has been kind enough to share some special moments and nuggets of wisdom with us, as well as some insight into her creative world.
What artists/movements inspire you in your work and in your life?
Figurative sculptures of all kinds speak to me, specially those of Rodin and Michelangelo. I am also attracted to the Pop Art of the 1960’s and especially love the work of Alex Katz, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
What art movement do you most identify with and why?
I studied graphic design and photography in college and therefore tend to see the world in a simplified, flatter and uncluttered way. I view Pop Art as reductive, where things are pared down to their essence, which is how I like viewing the world.
Can you share some insight into your creative process?
Oftentimes, I start by making a collage of my photographs, together with things from magazines. Live models are my mainstay but occasionally I photograph my models in advance. I mix all of my own colors. I am attracted to juxtaposed, strong shapes and colors, and like painting with the least amount of information possible, while still telling the story. Figurative art speaks to me, as I am fascinated by the look of the light as it hits the the human body, forming light /shadow, negative /positive shapes and reflective color. Painting hair has become a bit of an obsession, as it is broken down into shape versus color, combined with movement. Through the position of the pose and color, I try to create mood in my painting, where it is left up to the viewer to imagine what the figure is thinking/doing.
What themes do you peruse, and what do you pull from your own life?
I love perusing art books, and magazines regarding popular culture. Also, being at the beach gives me a sense of peace, as I feel a strong spiritual connection with nature. Some of my best artwork was made while having a day off, perhaps because my focus was elsewhere, and the work came more from my gut.
Why is your work important, and what do you feel it says about you?
I have a particular style, which is reminiscent of pop art and yet a bit more complicated than that. Large scale work appeals to me - I am looking forward to painting a mural on a 4 story building in downtown Los Angeles! I try to push my boundaries, its exciting to stand up to and overcome fear.
How do you stay inspired?
Happiness is making art, allowing my spirit to soar, and my love of painting and drawing is a love affair with the process. Every leaf, cloud, wave, person, animal, and pebble inspire me.
Looking back, what was the "small stuff" that seemed insurmountable at times, and how did you get through it?
When attending boarding school in the 6th grade in Cuernavaca, Mexico, I struggled with loneliness. I learned to rely on myself by realizing that happiness, as well as unhappiness, exists between our own ears and in our own hearts.
If you had the chance to go back, what would you tell yourself at 30?
I would not change a thing, as those experiences made me who I am today. I would tell myself to try to enjoy the journey more, life speeds up with time.
What are some seemingly small moments you look back on and cherish?
Within two years of graduating college, while seeing a doctor in Tijuana, Mexico, I met a woman, more than 40 years my senior. She became my best friend, although we never lived in the same city. The moments, minutes, hours and days, which we spent together over the next 30 years, are very dear to me. On her deathbed, I told her why I loved her so much and how much she meant to me. We spoke about what happens after you die, and if it was possible for us to be together again. Now, I hold her in my heart and in my soul.
What are your secrets for balancing life, love, and work?
Love who you are, love who you are with, and love what you are doing, in time, the balance will come.
What mantra do you say to yourself to get through tough times?
The following poem, which I tape up next to my bed, make up mirror, kitchen cabinet and computer:
What wisdom would you share with our readers?
The law of attraction is real. Be mindful of your thoughts, believe in yourself, try your hardest, be kind to others, and share your love.
Who inspires you?
Foremost, my husband, Kurt, brings out the best in me. My friend, Betty Sheinbaum, who is an amazing 94 year old artist, and my lifelong girlfriend, Taunya, who has taught me the value of choosing love and forgiveness over all.
Coffee or tea?
Both, as each is yummy! I love a Green tea followed by an Americano in the morning. A Darjeeling iced tea is refreshing at mid-day, and a double espresso hits the spot later on in the afternoon.
What is your “must have” for a good night’s sleep?
Peace in my heart.
Funniest bedroom story?
When celebrating a girlfriend’s birthday, I spent the night with 6 other ladies at a home on Little Island in Newport Beach. My girlfriend, Cynthia, shared a room with me. She had just bought a new iPhone and was trying to figure out how to get Siri to answer her questions. She asked Siri where her husband was. Siri answered, “Since I don’t know who you are, how could I possibly know where your husband is?” Laughing, she then asked where the closest massage parlor was. To our delight, Siri came up with at least 10 houses of ill repute within a 1 mile radius. We laughed so hard, that we fell off of the bed. The following day, she actually learned how to use the phone!
Thanks to Susie for sharing some snippets of her life with us, as well as her enlightened advice. We're very excited to see the progress on her upcoming artwork!
Check out Susie's website to learn more about her work.