I am in my mid-seventies. I live for color and I live for art. I live, breathe, dream and wear it.
All of my life, even when I was deep in a successful cookery writing and broadcasting career, I harbored an extreme passion for color and for folk and tribal art of all kinds. I have collected (from childhood on) hoards of fascinating junk; my homes were always Technicolor, clashing and cluttered, and my clothes were eccentric, bright and lively, sometimes to the point of actual weirdness. I loved art, but constantly lamented the fact that I had no talent for it. But about eighteen years ago, a metaphorical bolt of lightening struck, and I suddenly and mysteriously stopped cooking and started making art. I simply burst into art–much like bursting into flames. With no warning at all, I turned into another person entirely. Was it a visitation, a gift from the universe, a psychotic break . . . who knows? I blame it on the menopause–one of the best things that ever happened to me.
My work celebrates life, love, death, and hormones. I concern myself with the female landscape.
I fashion assemblages from found objects and old and distressed dolls or mannequins, and I paint female goddesses and heroines on wood, then embellish them with more found objects. It all bursts with color, overexcitement, and feminine glory. Our lives are surrounded by the detritus of past times. Searching out this stuff is like mining for gold. I spend half my life looking for “stuff,” and the other half making it into art. It is a joyful way to live, and keeps me young . . . and sane.
I have always been interested in wearing color, fascinating jewelry, handmade things, unusual things, even when I had little money, and even before I mysteriously turned into an artist. The current style, the passing fads were always anathema to me.
I regard myself as a work of art to be assembled anew each day. My clothes and jewelry are all one-off pieces and works of art. Lauren Shanley and Diane Goldie make my art jackets and kimonos, often using fabrics I have collected, or imagery I have created. I make my own jewelry or it is made for me, often using my own found materials. When I sashay out into the world, I am wrapped in art–a one-woman collage.
My style of dressing and my manner of art making are influenced by tribal art, Mexican and Haitian folk art, religious iconography, outsider art, graffiti, kitsch of all kinds. And, of course, color.
I never feel like an “old lady.” Elderly–who . . . me?
I have a purpose in life and deep passions.
I make art, and I curate shows that exhibit and glorify the work of other artists, young and old, who work far outside the margins of the conventional art world, and I curate myself, every day of my life.
Growing “old”–marching forward in time–is an adventure and a privilege; I feel lucky every moment of my life.
About the Author
Born in New York City almost seventy-five years ago, Sue Kreitzman has lived and worked in the UK for thirty years. She had a long career as a food writer and broadcaster, but unexpectedly burst into art late in life. She now spends her life immersed in paint, sculpting material and found objects.
Sue supports and encourages young (and old) outsider artists and curates outsider art exhibitions. Her work is in collections all over the world, and her exhibitions—Wild Old Women, Flashier and Trashier, and Dare to Wear—were exuberant and flamboyant blockbusters. Readers may find more information about her at www.suekreitzman.com and at www.wildoldwomen.info.