The internet is like a huge garden. There is amazing stuff everywhere you look but sometimes you stumble upon something extraordinary. Suzie’s vividly realistic black and white oil paintings are such a thing and we’re stoked that she accepted our invitation to chat about Blue Swan Art, diving and the Red Sea Shark Project.
Hey Suzie, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Tell us a little bit about you…
I have really been a Creator of art all my life. From Painting, since I was old enough to make a mess with a paintbrush to doing my first sculpture at 6 yrs old. I haven’t looked back really. My latest talent is tattoo art which I have done for the past 18 years. Simple really, that’s the peaceful side of myself. Truth be told,
I am a self-confessed adrenaline junky! I’ve been involved with Sidecar Racing as a passenger, racing all over the UK circuits. I’ve flown a plane…. thrown myself out of a plane…one time with The Red Devils. I raced, bikes, horses, cars and even snails. I’ve tried a whole host of stuff over the years. There isn’t a lot I haven’t at tried at least once or twice just to make sure it wasn’t for me!!! Adrenaline was and always has been a necessity since I was old enough for a licence and a passport of my own, and long may it continue! But scuba Diving has stolen my heart. I love it all. I am totally hooked on pushing “One’s Limits” which is why I have started on the road of technical diving last year.
You’re creating some powerful and amazing paintings these days. How did that start?
Thank you so much, Clara. So kind of you to say I really appreciated it. Painting with oils, a medium that I had never tried before started in December 2016 when I broke my back for the 3rd time. I was at a total loss as to what to do with myself, so being laid up and not being able to work I started to learn Arabic to keep me occupied. When I could move a bit more I needed some space to get some Peace, Rest and Quiet away from the boys. So I turned our old mobile home into a LADY SHED and haven’t looked back since!
Who or what influences your work the most today?
Simple answer….Me, myself and I. I always paint what I love, and subjects that I am passionate about. I do like to have a cause, a message. I think that painting is a voice that is still free of discrimination and retribution. It is a way of saying what you need to say, a visual message to shout out, to share and for this reason, I am painting a lot of sharks at the moment. Sharks are such a crucial part of the world’s ecological system. Considering the way that we are treating these beautiful creatures I want to be their voice. So I guess it is the diving that most influences me to fight for those with no voice.
You’re a passionate diver. When did that start?
I started Scuba Diving over 10 years ago. We were on holiday in Thailand and my partner was getting really, REALLY fed up on day 2 with me. I had been prodding and poking him asking what his book was like …was it good? .. what was happening? Was he bored yet? What about now…now.. how about now?? I don’t do sitting down with nothing to do on holidays well! He basically told me in words that I will not blue your ears with “Please go and find something else to do” So I did….And from that moment on Scuba diving and me, well, let’s just say we have kept each other really busy!
Are there any dive sites or areas that you find yourself coming back to?
Do you know what? I have dived all over the world but I keep coming back to Egypt. Gordon, Woodhouse, and Jackson reefs are amongst my favourite dive sites in the Tiran area. And for the last 2 years I have been diving out of Safaga with United Divers, and just love all the sites here too. The diversity of sea life, visibility and just the feeling of being ‘Home” takes me back there time and time again. So just being out here in Egypt is what creates the inspiration in its own way.
Where do you spend most of your time?
Working …so that I can go Diving.
You are working together with a non-profit organisation called Red Sea Sharks. Has working with them influenced your art?
Absolutely Yes! Dr Elke Bojanowski who’s baby is Red Sea Sharks Project has been and still is a great influence and Mentor since we met in 2014. I have listened to many of her lectures when she has been onboard the Blue O2 liveaboards lecturing during the “Project Shark” weeks. She covers everything from Shark behaviour, anatomy and physiology and most importantly to how to dive with Sharks in the correct manner. She also photographically catalogues the sharks, for Red Sea Sharks database. It really makes for a wonderful Educational week, especially for divers wanting to do some more diving with sharks.
In wanting to support Res Sea Sharks I am currently creating some original oil paintings for the wonderful people who sponsor and donate to Red Sea Sharks.
If you could magically fix one environmental issue, which one would it be?
I don’t know, from humans turning everywhere into a polluted rubbish dump to exploiting everything on the planet… It’s a real tough one. But as a diver, I would have to say the issues we are having with whaling and shark finning. These would be on top of my list right now. This goes hand in hand with the captivity of any sea/migratory mammals/sharks/amphibians for shows, for fun for tanks or for any reason, really. I want it all to stop, now! Environmentally it is as its always been “clean up ya mess people”. I Think World peace is a bit too much to ask for!
What are your plans for 2019?
To be a voice, and a good ambassador for the projects and Charities I hold dear.
I guess, to get as many folks as I can to change their way of thinking even their lifestyles. Be that through my paintings or speaking out to those who will listen whilst I have them held captive in the Tattoo Studio. But I do want to have a whole load of fun doing it and I want to get some serious Diving in, too.
If you were to give a message to the younger generation, what would it be?
I’d tell them to look after the Planet we have, as we don’t have a Planet B. And to Live life, it’s not a rehearsal.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Suzie.