Artist Susan Andreson is an amazing being who is daring to live her dream as an artist. Be inspired for her passion and helpful ideas for becoming an artist yourself!

When did you first know you are an artist?

Maybe as far back as age 4. When I was a kid I often found myself observing rather than reacting to interesting things I saw. I truly loved to watch, wonder and imagine. I started making things and loved texture. I was a collector of strange objects and anything that I could get my hands on.

Was art a major part of your growing up? Did your parents or other family members influence you?
Yes. One of my earliest memories was painting a watercolor of my house in kindergarten. I loved drawing, and I’d collect all kinds of things and make little assemblages. On my dad’s side of the family my grandmother, dad and sister were all artists. Up on the walls in my house hung their oil paintings.
My Cousin also was a tremendous influence, she taught Ceramics at UCLA for 40 years and was head of the Design Department there for many years. She was one of the early California ceramic pioneers. So my dad’s side really included some amazing creativity. On my mom’s side, my mother and her whole family were very musical and theatrical. All of them sang and played many instruments. They loved to perform and encouraged all of us to do the same! With both influences I chose the visual arts as I really found my place there.
"Bouncing Back in Green" by Artist Susan Andreson

Who are your favorite artists? Have they influenced your own art?
Wow, I have many favorites. I must say in the beginning of my art education, when I began painting, I was really influenced by Francis Bacon, DeKooning, and the Futurists. I was really interested in abstract art. Yes, all of these artists and more have influenced my work. I loved oil painting, it’s been a while since I’ve painted, but I really found my place as an abstract painter.
What is your art education background?

I started taking art classes in Jr. High and High School, focused on ceramics, drawing and photography. Then continued on to UCLA where I received a BFA in Fine Art where I learned all the traditional aspects of art – drawing, print making, sculpture, and oil painting.

"Point of Unification" by Artist Susan Andreson
UCLA has an awesome art department where I learned from some amazing artists. The program was very challenging and included lots of Contemporary Art Analysis and Criticism. As artists we all had to think, speak, analyze and question art-it was really a great place to be. A few years later I then returned to school for a certificate in computer animation at Santa Monica College’s Academy of  Entertainment and Technology where I learned traditional animation, story boarding, perspective drawing along with all the Adobe programs and 3d software. I then continued on to UCLA Extension with a focus in graphic design.
Really what happened with the return to school was a shift in media from the hands on approach of art creation to the computer/digital world which really was a fascinating jump! I now have both areas to contribute to what I do today.

Can art truly be taught…is it a natural gift…or a little bit of both?
That’s a big question that could go on for pages…well I think starting with your very own interest in creativity is a natural gift, just to look at the world we all live in from a different angle. I don’t think this can be taught but it can be influenced for sure. If you are exposed to creative people or art of any kind, I think this can for sure guide you in a really different direction. The natural gift of art making is definitely a deep passion that takes a long time to develop, from influences to experimentation to all the ideas, it’s really endless and I’d have it no other way!
If one wants to become an artist, where do they start?
I think taking the time to really look at the things around all of us and how they ended up there is a good start. We live in an amazing world with tons of incredible people who have created everything we see, touch and feel to certain extent. Look at the amazing architecture in our cities down to the shoes we wear.
Everything has been dreamt up from the creative process.
There is so much inspiration in nature too from the things that came here before all of us we have derived all of this…I think taking art classes is a great start as it teaches you to create something with your mind and hands..that is just the start.
Have you ever exhibited your art? How would one go about exhibiting their art work?
Yes. When I was in art School I exhibited in the group show then onto a coffee shop in the LA area, then sent some of my work to a gallery in Washington, DC.
I think organizing your work is the first step, put it in a format where it can be sent out to galleries or anywhere you’re interested in exhibiting it. The next step is to research and find the places you want to exhibit your art. Galleries are one thing but now there is so much more for artists-coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, office buildings, public places etc…

How did your love for art transfer to a love of creating art for tee-shirts?

"Millet" on an eco-green Alternative Apparel t-shirt

I think it is just an extension of my creative ideas. I’ve always loved texture and clothing, so I think I really wanted to work with another medium. It’s all about exploring with different materials, textures, shapes etc. I love t-shirts they are so easy, casual and just really provide another surface for expression that we all can wear. How my ideas transferred onto t-shirts definitely was influenced by the world we live in specifically my dog Jaeda!

I notice that tee-shirt art surrounds your love of dogs — what is it about them that inspires you so?

First of all I think sharing my life with a pet, mostly dogs has been an amazing experience! I know this might sound strange, but there is a certain relationship you can have with a dog, like no other. It is a pure relationship where I think most of all I’ve learned the meaning of loyalty and commitment. I am inspired by the way they keep life so simple and meaningful. This really helps me.

"Ava & Mugsy PDX" on an eco-brown Alternative Apparel t-shir
I feel the world we live in can be so complicated, distracting and overwhelming at times so, to take myself back down a few notches and allow the dog to once again ground me is absolutely essential. I do feel tremendously lucky to share my life with such an amazing creature. From the commitment I have made to my dog I get so much back and then some! So the idea of representing the dog on shirts came to me a while ago and I just took to it. Other people love dogs too so I think it makes everyone happy…just another opportunity  to enjoy the world we live in.
When you create art — do you have a specific routine that gets you in the right state of mind?
Not necessarily a routine but a mindset..a build up of sorts. Like a warm-up for a game, it’s like taking yourself out of everything you are thinking and doing and then diving into the idea you have and going with it wherever it takes you..this has always rally worked for me then of course taking a few steps back and coming back is always necessary to see what you’ve done and if it makes sense. The feeling of getting to where I think whatever it is I’m working on, “I’m really happy with” is such a great feeling.
In your mind, where does your art come from and how does it move your soul?
It comes from everything – my memories, my experiences, the colors, the places, the spaces, the sounds, the feelings, the people, the animals, the trees, the plants and pretty much everything around me. I think just being open to all of it moves my soul. Just being here knowing that I can take all of my inspiration from everything inside and around me and then create something that involves all of us and everything we are is awesome!
What is your favorite quote of all time?
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Susan’s t-shirt designs are available at:
– Interview by Jen Engevik of Team Project BeBold
…make it a bold day!