We had the good fortune of connecting with suzanne klotz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi suzanne, what role has risk played in your life or career?
• I have never applied the term “risk taking” to the decisions I’ve made in my life choices. Rather, what others may perceive as risks, I perceive as opportunities for new adventures. If I had thought of my past adventures as “risks” I wouldn’t have walked out my front door and, in turn, would have lived only a very boring and stagnant life.
• In terms of creating my art works, I wouldn’t describe taking risks here as an adventure, rather, it’s a lot of hard work, frustration and emotional and mental trauma, but taking risks in the creative process is essential for continued growth. I view each “next piece” as a challenge to push the envelope (conceptually, visually and technically) when compared to the last piece. The last work of art needs to exist in order for the next piece to materialize. I take the best parts of the last piece, incorporate them into the current work and introduce new technical, visual and conceptual challenges. The hardest stage of creating for me is finishing. Once a work of art is completed it needs to visually and energetically convey what I originally hoped for it. If it doesn’t, my only option is to trash it. When a piece doesn’t feel right after months or years of hard work, I have nothing to lose by taking huge visual and conceptual risks. At that point, I step out of myself, say “I quit’ and ask for assistance from Elaine Horwitch (my gallery dealer who assured me that she totally believed in my art) and select deceased artists whose work inspires me. So far, the risks (which I can’t take credit for) have always paid off and are ultimately what I consider my most successful pieces, far exceeding my original expectations. My job, when creating art, is to be willing to take those risks where needed and to take that big jump into the unknown. Suzanne Klotz, artist.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Wherever it is that I’ve “gotten to” today, it hasn’t been easy. I taught in different universities and colleges for 18 years as a visiting guest artist on either 1 or 2-year faculty positions or as full-time faculty for 3 years. The visiting artist positions allowed me the freedom to alternate teaching for a year with years of totally concentrating on my art practice. Lessons I have learned doing this: 1) Your only competition is yourself. 2) Persevere in spite of hard times. 3) To Thine own self be true. 4) A child’s attempt is better than no attempt at all. 5) Work on your art at least one hour per day for the rest of your life (one hour quickly turns into many hours). 6) Art expresses our
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely take my friend to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the Tempe Fine Arts Center, the Phoenix Art Museum, Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, walk around Dobson Ranch lakes (enjoy the ducks and turtles), the Heard Museum, and when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, we would go to downtown Friday Night in Phoenix. Restaurants: the Bisbee Coffee Club in Mesa, Hillstone in Phoenix, and Sanctuary in Scottsdale.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have too many shout outs to mention! But, to mention a few: Sophia Isajiw, for her superb editing of my writings, supporting my artistic endeavors and providing spiritual upliftment; my many collectors, without whom I would not have been financially able to continue to create; my professors in graduate school at Texas Tech University, who pushed me to the brink and then finally pushed me into the brink (of finding my own unique personal voice and expression); my parents, for financing my undergraduate and graduate education; artist grants and artist in residencies; my past students and our shared love of art; the love and support of family members; my friends. Nothing is as important as friendship.
photographer: Suzanne Klotz