Oregon-based Artist Combines Her Passions To Make Art
Photos by Debra Thornton
The bright and dull colors layered together act like smooth shards of glass bursting out from the wall. They were framed, abstract and contrasting against the spokes and bike derailleurs around it. It was the first thing I saw the moment I walked into Ashland Bicycle Works in Ashland, OR and truthfully, the colorful motif was the last thing I expected to see there. It was mysterious; I appreciated it. I was in town that night to screen my latest telemark movie. Lucky for me, Suzy Stone, who created the eye-catching piece on the wall, decided to attend the show that night. I was pleased at the opportunity to meet the mind behind the creation I’d seen.
Suzy grew up in Ashland, OR in a family of artists that was always encouraged to “cultivate artful talents while we were growing up,” she says. And it shows. Her mother and brother are both painters, and her father is a boat builder. When we spoke at the show she said, “I was always around art and I loved growing up in Ashland — right up the hill from Olympia Park. It was ideal as a kid.”
Suzy spent many years away from Oregon where she traveled and lived in such places as Oakland and Napa Valley while working as an artist. She even had a stint working at a boutique winery. But Suzy’s heart was in Oregon, where she grew up and received her art degree from University of Oregon, so she decided to head back to Ashland in 2003. That was also the year she learned how to telemark ski. Her artistic talents continued to blossom at a floral shop, which she owned and operated for the next three years. But her curiosity to explore reached into other mediums and realms as well. “I see something I want to learn and do it. I even welded bicycles together — I’m fascinated by all types of different art and design.” Her adventurous spirit eventually led her back into the painting studio. Only this time she began playing with old, cut-up magazines, instead of actual paint. “What is exciting about what I’m doing now is that it feels more like painting than a collage. I’m making the same decisions as a painter, like what color to use and where it will go, only I’m using recycled materials.”
“I‘m drawn to so many different artists. I’m really drawn to the energy and style of the California landscape painters like Susan Rothenberg.” And although she doesn’t think her art reflects the Impressionist Period, she likes that “it was an era when people started thinking about painting in a different light.”
“I have been thinking about it for a long time – how am I going to translate this passion for skiing onto a flat surface and have it not be trite? I wanted it to be a piece of art that isn’t literal, but is more about the power of the image,” she said. I’m no connoisseur of art, but I can say my own personal experience with the first piece I saw accomplished exactly what she was seeking out to do.
*This article originally appeared in TS #19