We are delighted to publish the eighth of our new styled interview entitled ‘Mobile Artists on Their Artistry’. Within this interview, we ask highly successful mobile artists twenty questions about their backgrounds, their work, social media, how Covid-19 has influenced their creative life and so much more…
Today, we are proud to feature our latest interview, this time, with award winning artist, Susan Latty from Sydney, Australia. She primarily uses the medium of mobile photography and art to create portraits of flowers with meticulous attention to detail.
Each image captured in her signature style is the result of her artist exploration of emotional transition as time transcends shifts of experiences, often invisible to outsiders but nevertheless deeply felt. Containing the necessary traces of people, whilst being physically absent, her work discreetly leads the viewer to the threshold of a quiet unanticipated, silent introspection.
Each photograph implores the viewer to stop for a few minutes and soak in the details that can go unseen in the everyday. Sensitive to the omnipresent vibrations of life influx, she embraces each image with a timeless and serene aesthetic.
We are also proud to offer a collection of her work for sale in our exclusive online gallery, please take a look here.
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
I am a photographic based digital artist who uses mobile devices to create my work. Flowers and the landscape are a great inspiration for me, offering endless possibilities and potential for expression.
The images I take provide a point of departure to respond both creatively and emotionally through editing, a process I find meditative.
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
I have used @pause.and.breathe on Instagram from the beginning. The words reflect an awareness I have built into my life to live more mindfully, to manage anxiety and to promote a sense of peace. My creative work is a natural expression of this practice and I hope the words may trigger a similar response in others.
What kind of family did you grow up in?
A small loving family…… I have a younger sister. My parents worked hard to offer us a good Catholic education and were very protective of us. I am very grateful for their generosity, love and support. However, for me, a shy anxious girl who liked to please others, elements of my upbringing promoted lingering guilt, fear and lack of confidence.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
Mum loved to draw and paint but mainly by copying things and for craft projects. Dad loved photography, particularly taking photos of the family and enjoyed using his darkroom. They encouraged me to do as they did, which was creative in its own way. Within my narrow experience, that was the extent of my young creative life.
Did your parents support your creativity?
My parents supported my desire to attend the National Art School when I completed high school. I had no clear ambition associated with that path. I’m sure Mum and Dad thought it was a nice thing for me to do while supporting myself with part time work before I settled down to have a family.
Fortunately for me, attending art school began my awakening to the possibilities in life, causing me to question certain assumptions and make more independent choices.
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
It depends on what you define as an artist! It is a label I have had trouble with all my life. I have always created in some way. Much of my paid work has involved the skills of an artist, but I have only been happy to call myself an artist in the last few years. For me it comes with the recognition that I have an authentic artistic voice that needs to be nurtured and expressed to maintain my health and happiness.
What is creativity to you?
My authentic response to stimulus informed by intuition, imagination and an openness to unknown possibilities.
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
I didn’t do any paid work for many years while my children were young. My younger daughter Catherine was disabled and her care was my priority. Sadly, Catherine died when she was ten and the ensuing grief and personal growth have shaped my life. I established a Calligraphy and Design business in the early 90s which I ran for over a decade, teaching and doing freelance work. As this was a niche business, I also worked part time in a variety of other jobs including at a high school where I remained for 17 years. In 2006, I retrained as a Landscape Designer which I loved.
Where are you most creative?
Probably at home…… in the kitchen, in the garden and in my creative workspace. When making art, I do respond best to this quiet peaceful environment as it gives me the space to consider my inspiration and emotional landscape. However, I like to make art every day, so the portability of the iPhone and iPad means I can create wherever I am.
What inspires you?
Inspiration is everywhere but I am particularly drawn to natural beauty, small details, colour, the play of light, subtlety, fragility, kindness, compassion……
Who inspires you?
Firstly, I want to mention my beloved family and friends. Each person brings such richness to my life and inspires me in different ways. My grandchildren remind me about the wonder of being in the moment and delighting in simple joys. These insights inform my creative practice.
An Australian artist I have long admired is Cressida Campbell. Campbell is best known for her exquisitely detailed woodblocks and unique prints depicting still lifes, domestic interiors and Australian Landscapes. I love her work!
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
Opportunities arise on social media such as a call for an exhibition or competition and the prescribed themes can foster new ideas resulting in a body of work. However, generally I create what I need to create that day, responding to what’s happening in my life.
What does your average day look like?
I am fortunate to be retired now so I am not tied to a routine. My days will vary but will always include exercise, meditation and art. If I’m lucky they will also include a visit from my grandchildren or time with family and friends. My husband, Tony, and I love our time together and laugh a lot!
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
I guess my intention is to remind the viewer to pause and be in the moment. It is so easy to get caught up in habitual routines and responses and I use my work to remind myself and hopefully the viewer that we always have a choice. Simple choices can have profound impacts on our health and well-being.
Is there humour in your work?
Not intentionally, unless of course you find flowers hysterical!
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
I don’t really think of failure as such while I’m creating. When a piece isn’t working, I have learned to walk away from it. I am very careful not to let my inner critic get started with thoughts of failure.
I try to be kind to myself and divert my energy elsewhere. Often the next day it is easier to see a solution or feel comfortable in not continuing along that path. I save edits as I’m working so going back a few steps often offers a fresh beginning.
I have also observed that if I go through a few days when I don’t feel satisfied creatively, it can be just before an insight. Maintaining an open positive outlook and a kindness towards myself helps foster this progress. Failures as such are often opportunities in disguise!
How do you deal with criticism?
Constructive criticism is an opportunity. Unkind or passive forms of criticism speak more about the other person.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
The pandemic has underlined the integral role my art practice plays in my life. As someone who needs to actively manage anxiety, the mindfulness my creativity fosters serves to remind me of the abundance and joy in my days. By spending time responding to these observations and my emotional landscape, I am offered choices in my focus. This meditative practice without doubt supports my intention of finding peace.
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
My daughter Catherine who died in 1994. We would have prawns and chocolate mousse.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
Be in the moment. It is the journey that matters, not the destination.
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