Interview Jon Beinart of the Beinart Surreal Art Collective
Jon Beinart: Where do your images come from Suzzan?
Suzzan Blac: As a child I always found escapism with pencil and paper, but, as a teenager my drawings became very "dark and horrific", which disturbed many people who labeled me "evil" to be able to conjure up such violent imagery. And, because I felt so "bad", I began producing "nice, happy pictures". I continued painting and selling these up until two years ago. One day, I just decided that I would NEVER again paint to please others ... I was going to paint what "I" wanted! My creative canker was about to burst!!
So ... now I paint .. my fears, my anger, my frustration and pain. I bleed all over my canvasses!
We are conditioned to suppress our negative feelings ... but they do the most damage! So, I embrace them, it is such a cathartic and liberating experience ... to be able to express and share such a "collective emotion" with all the people who identify with the pain of my art, for they bleed like I bleed.
Jon: It sounds like years of repression and painting pleasing images made your (current) personal art more gruesome. Do you delight in watching people react to your images? Please describe some of the negative feedback you have received? I understand that you metaphorically "bleed" all over your canvases (considering the emotional content of your work), but do you also use your blood as a medium?
Suzzan: Oh my God ... yeah! All those wasted years! But I'm going to make up for them now ... you ain't seen nothing yet! I'm just testing the water at the moment, because of all the past negative reactions, but now the positive, amazing reactions fuel my desire to paint "from my guts" and to be as graphically explicit as I want to be! Yeah, I love the reactions, my art reflects the viewer's mind, depending on their own personal experiences and emotional levels. Their reactions keep my art alive! The negativity comes from people who don't like to "feel" unpleasant, morbid thoughts; they are in denial, living out their daily "pseudo-happy" lives. It's not that I wish to "taint" their world. I want to show them "absolute honesty ... pure truth" ... because "that" is freedom. I have been called evil ... insane ... mentally disturbed ... fuckin' sick ... a satanist ... a witch ... oh, and that I need psychiactric treatment!! And I thought that I was quite the protagonist!
Ha ha ... I have an extremely rare blood group, so the national blood donor org. are always taking more than they should ... so I don't have much left to paint with, but I do occasionally throw some on the canvas to match up the colour (I am a perfectionist) or observe how it drips/splatters onto different surfaces. So whoever buys my original art ... will also own my DNA, which could establish proof of authenticity. Ooh, and they could "clone" me! AAAARRGGHHH!! Hmm ... okay ... maybe they are right: I do need psychiatric treatment.
Jon: Hahaha. If you're crazy Suzan, then perhaps I am, as well. I can relate to a lot of what you said. I definitely agree that a person's reaction relates more to their own mind than the content of an artwork. Are you a fan of B-grade horror films, Suzzan? I see traces of Hellraiser in your imagery. Did you overdose on 80s cinematic gore (with terrible acting and poorly written scripts) in your childhood? I was breast-fed on the shite (not that my mother totally approved).
Suzzan: He. He. There is no "perhaps", Jon!
As long as the reactions are extreme! What I really hate is when someone says that my work is "nice"! I DON'T DO "NICE"!
Hmm ... yes, I was extremely traumatised by horror movies such as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Herbie ... and, believe it or not, I have never seen Hellraiser!
Horror movies are great ... they force people to deal with fear, especially teenagers! I was much more interested in forensics, serial killers, war, diseases, plagues and other human atrocities. I wanted to know just how depraved and heinous mankind could stoop to. I have seen and experienced things that I "never" want to again. Hmmm ... maybe ignorance is bliss!
It is these things that have influenced my art. After all, my art "is" my mind.
Jon: Yes, I've heard that ignorance is bliss, Suzzan, but I think it may be too late for you unless you're lucky enough to acquire a brain injury ;) Touch wood. So you draw inspiration from the real horrors of our society. Have you been influenced by other artists? Who are some of your favorites and why?
Suzzan: Haha ... Jon, but I do have a brain injury—in the psychological sense, I mean. It has been damaged beyond repair, so it is just as well that my work is such a servile and solitary occupation. I don't have or desire much contact with other people; art is my sanctuary and my reason for living. It is so ironic that as an artist, my senses are so heightened to the painful ordeals of life, yet, I am able to produce such visceral and intense imagery.
I can't really say that I have been influenced by other painters. I do admire the technical mastery of artists like Van Eyck and Holbein and the provoking works of Bacon and Caravaggio. Hmm ... maybe I am! But my biggest influences come from the most courageous of artists, such as Jonathan Davis from Korn, whose poignant lyrics and emotive voice incited me to "paint from my guts" and to take my art to the extreme. And Beethoven ... who suffered such an abusive childhood, racked with illness, became totally deaf and suffered with tinitus ... [and] composed some of the most beautiful music ever heard.
These are my heroes; they gave so much to the world, even though the world tormented and abused them.
Jon: Thank you, Suzzan, for sharing so much of yourself in this interview. It is great to get to know the woman behind the art. Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or are your works being included in any publications? Any exciting news for the people? ;)
Suzzan: My absolute pleasure, Jon! I have to say that I am a "newbie"—I only started networking in December—but so far, I have had two group shows with the Strychnin gallery and an LA film director is going to use some of work in his next horror movie. And now I am happy to say that I am featured on your amazing website! So, not too bad so far!!
I want to thank you for that, Jon, and thank you so much for the interview—mainly because it made me think about my work. So, I just want to say to all the people who love and identify with my art ... and have sent me so many beautiful messages and comments ... a HUGE thank you, and that I will not let them down. I will produce the art that "they" want ... and that I "will" paint!!
Copyright © 2010-2013 Suzzan Blac.
Site last updated 31st of March, 2013.