Artwork for Sue Kreitzman
Kimono and Painting
Kimono and Neck Shrine
Sue Kreitzman Digital Portrait
I am deeply moved by primitive religious and tribal art of all kinds. Images and objects that have been created with passion take on immense power.
I paint on paper or on found wood, with acrylics and nail varnish. Many of the works on wood are embellished with buttons, broken jewelry, toys, and other bits of profound junk (I have a deep and abiding passion for profound junk).
I also build assemblages, memory jugs and neckshrines out of my vast hoards of detritus. Half my time is spent obsessively trawling for junk, and the other half, obsessively putting it all together. At this time I'm creating for the sheer visceral joy of it. The enormous impact it has had on my life has turned me into another person entirely.
My Journey into Art
When I spotted a call for artists for the 2005 Raw Arts Festival, to be held in Islington, I geared up all of my courage and applied, completely sure that I would be rejected, reviled, and laughed out of London.
I was accepted! I was on my way to Glory! Surely I was going to be acknowledged as a real, honest-to-goodness Outsider Artist! But I quaked in my boots. Would there be many women in the show? More to the point, would there be any older women in the show? (I was 65 at the time.)
To my joy there were other women in the show, from middle aged to (almost) my age. The talent! The warm appreciation and support! The openhearted enjoyment of each other's work! How we bonded, how we talked into the night.
One evening, over a particularly memorable dinner in Chinatown, I idly commented: "We should have a show of our own, called 'WOW!!' for Wild Old Women. What a dramatic and exciting exhibition it would be." Four years later, there we were: the original gang from 2005 along with other Wild Women gathered along the way. Wild, most certainly; middle aged to elderly... hell yes! - and undoubtedly women. How sweet life can be.
My work is completely untutored (as far as technique and materials are concerned, I make it up as I go along), intensely personal and involves colour, food, freedom and the female landscape. I fashion imagined Goddesses, glimpsed strangers, close friends, my personal female heroines, real and mythological - Josephine Baker, Frida Kahlo, Eve, Medusa - and self-portraits, and I adorn these powerful female images with profound symbols crafted from junk.
Sue Kreitzman is a well known and successful cookery writer who came to art late in life and found to her endless delight that it overpowered her and completely dominated her existence. Her home in Bow in London's East End stands as testament to that. Crammed with Kreitzman's colourful assemblages, paintings and collections, the space becomes a flowing mass of colour and form, with the divisions between walls, ceilings, stairs and floors often difficult to grasp.
Originally from New York, Kreitzman has organised several important exhibitions of self-taught artists in London over the last few years, including the celebrated WOW – Wild Old Women and Flashier and Trashier which featured assemblage artists using found materials and kitsch objects as well as highly original paintings and drawings by a variety of mainly British-based visionary artists. Her latest show, 'Dare to Wear' will feature bizarre costumes and wearable artworks and will take place at her favourite exhibition venue, the cavernous crypt of St Pancras chuch near Euston in central London. Kreitzman hates pomposity about art, especially art which operates outside of the mainstream. The artists in her exhibitions are an iconoclastic, unconventional, free thinking group, and Kreitzman wants 'visitors to leave our exhibitions exhilarated, overexcited, laughing out loud, and desperate to begin gathering detritus themselves in order to make their own art. I would hope that each and every one of them realise that anyone can make art out of anything!'
Kreitzman has collected together a whole stable of British-based self-taught artists who show alongside her at the regular exhibitions. For many it is the main exposure they will get during the year and the exhibitions are gradually establishing themselves as important elements in London's specialist outsider art world. The forthcoming Dare to Wear show will feature 27 self-taught artists who will be exploring profound wardrobe conundrums such as 'Will flamboyance set you free?', 'How many kilos of weird jewelery are correct to wear on any given day?' and 'Will wearing beige really kill you?'