We’ve always got one eye out for artists doing interesting things and getting us thinking about everything from politics to female representation. Which is how we stumbled across Suzanna Scott and her prints, paints and sculpture over on Instagram. Based in Louisiana, Suzanne has been working with her hands since a young age, creating artworks from all manner of materials - stone, wax, fiber, paper and objects that mean something or are of interest to her.
The result is a varied collection of work that spans a number of important themes - with feminism and female bodies perhaps being the most visually obvious. We’re particularly taken with her recent works, which Susanna describes as “cut and paste drawings” - think strong lines and textures referencing phallic shapes and using the odd bit of dusky pink as a nod to femininity. We were intrigued by Suzanne’s work and equally as interested in her political opinions and her thoughts on the role of art in uncertain times. Scroll down to see what she had to say when we caught up with her.
Tell us about your recent works and the process behind making them.
I’ve been referring to my new series of collage works as ‘cut & paste drawings’. They began as pencil drawings on scraps of paper. The scraps were gleaned from the endpapers of old books, envelopes and some paper dress patterns from my husband’s grandmother who died recently. I wasn’t satisfied with the drawings so I cut them up, added a bit of paint and glued down the paper bits in new arrangements.
Your shapes and themes often reference the female form - what is it about the subject that you enjoy exploring?
The female form has been a continual theme since I began working as an artist twenty years ago. My early sculpture referenced the whole body and/or form of the female torso but over the years has evolved to highlight body parts through a vocabulary of abstracted feminine and masculine archetypes. The basic forms I elicit throughout my work are the drop (breast), the wound/slit (vagina) and the somewhat phallic combinations of what I refer to as shafts and glands. I am enamoured by the folds, curves, creases and textures of the body.
We’d love to hear more about Coin Cunts and the inspiration behind it.
The ‘Coin Cunt’ project began innocently when I was playing around with an old coin purse. I flipped it inside out, and saw a vaginal form emerge from my pinching and tucking. Using a needle and thread I stitched it into place. As I thought about it, I found so much association between the little pocket-like forms and the inferred suggestions that these new objects brought to mind.
When I began to share the ‘Coin Cunts’ on social media I was amazed at the feedback it provided. With a simple alteration these ubiquitous objects became evocative and their appeal provocative. In hopes of redeeming the negative connotation I decided to call them ‘Coin Cunts’ as it fit their alternative meanings perfectly. Aside from chuckles and LOL’s, I’ve found that others can see in this project our assumed cultural associations of money and women, prostitution, female genital mutilation, the porn industry, suppression of women, gender equality, body image ideals, equal pay and the list continues to grow.
How is the political situation the US affecting artists like yourself? Do you think art has a more important role to play than ever?
Artists throughout the centuries have used their work to give voice and speak out on political issues of their own generations. I cannot say if art has become more important than ever but I can say the current political landscape here in the US has definitely shifted my vision and influenced the direction of my work. Our lying, pussy-grabbing president has re-ignited a smouldering fire among feminist artists and has added many, such as myself, to their numbers.
I have a twelve-year-old daughter who is on the cusp of womanhood. Seemingly overnight we’ve been bombarded with misogynist, racist and sexist rhetoric on so many fronts. The poison seeping down from the highest office in our country is emboldening the lowest forms of humanity among us and hate speech is rampant. I do not want my daughter to live in this new reality. I feel helpless but I keep on making art. In some small way I hope that by speaking out through my work, along with many other artists, we will influence positive change for future generations.
All images: Suzanna Scott