We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Lizotte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is weighing failure and success. When I started my own business at age 29, I wasn’t sure if it would be successful or not. The risk of failure was pretty huge at that time for me since I was a single divorced mother. I had been working for someone else for ten years. Fortunately my gamble worked and it was successful, as well as very fun to be my own boss! Risk taking is anything that really doesn’t have a certain outcome. So to overcome the fear of an uncertain outcome takes courage. To me it has become a question of “why not”, instead of simply just “why”. When I phrase something I’m thinking of doing or trying as “why not”, it simplifies my thinking and allows some clarity. My thoughts on taking risks today are more centered on everyday activities: whether I’m risking my life going to get food someplace or pump gas into my car. Did I use enough hand sanitizer? Did someone with Covid-19 sneeze or cough. I end up deciding to go on with my day and keep sanitizing, hand washing so as to minimize my risk. In my art making I find it’s fun to take risks. My painting style does do not remain static, I’ve been able to just experiment and keep evolving my process. I think that overcoming any fear of risk has propelled me further in both my life and my art. I’ve painted people, landscapes, water, clouds and spray painted. Recently, during my lockdown I procured authentic sheepskin parchment (from Pergamena in NY) and had an amazing time creating a map on it. I used hematite (which looks like a red hunk of dirt/clay) and walnut ink and carminio ink to draw the base of the map on the parchment. I used oil paint (carefully) on top and I had the best time. Taking risks enables my confidence to grow exponentially. Not taking risks feels like I get stuck in a rut and it becomes so boring knowing the outcome before something is over. Risk taking makes everything more exciting and the feeling you get when you succeed is incredible. We all need a sweater of courage to wear and allow ourselves to try anything!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My paintings play with art history as a way to tell stories. My use of color including tertiary colors, is different from others painting today. I’ve incorporated figurative elements from the Renaissance and play them off abstract elements and colors. I feel my use of color is very important for me personally. I paint series and think about what it is that I want to say long before any paint hits the surface. Professionally I’ve gotten to a place where I value the feedback from my peers as well as from any interested buyers. I’ve made friends and acquaintances with many people in the art world and I’ve tried to learn from each and every one of them. Some learning involves what I aspire to become, and some learning is what I don’t like or don’t value. In art as well as everyday life, one always has teachers and the lessons. My paintings are about color, light, emotional resonance, life, love and fragility.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take my friend to the Getty Museum, and after we peruse the exquisite collection of art and walk through the gardens, we would sip cool glasses of wine as we watch the sun dip down and kiss the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. I would take my friend to Angelini Osteria restaurant and eat dinner on the outside patio, socially distant from others, and enjoy their exceptional Italian food. The artichoke casserole and prosciutto and melon appetizer are not to be missed. Angelini makes their own in house sorbet and it’s incredibly delicious! If Universal Studios were open I would definitely make a day there, it’s very fun albeit crowded. I would show my friend my art studio downtown and go for a drink and tacos at Guerrilla Tacos. Laguna Beach is very fun to see also, the shops in the downtown area are fun to check out. Venice is also a must. I love Gjelina and James Beach for food and love the shops on Abbot Kinney. Lastly I would make my friend homemade pizza and salad from my home garden and drink champagne to celebrate being together!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband and children definitely deserve a shoutout for supporting my artistic efforts. Alan Shaffer photography also deserves a huge shout out–thank you Alan! Your photographs make my paintings look even better. Om Bleicher at BG Gallery has been supportive and I cannot thank him enough. And I’d like to thank Voyage LA for the interview!
Alan Shaffer Susan Lizotte