Susan Hodgin was another wonderful Art Chicago find! I found her work so approachable and I admit to having a facination with circles. I just find them deeply spiritual – so Susan’s work is an obvious match for me.

What are your main inspirations in art?
My main inspiration comes from nature. The layering and complexity and interdependence of every ecosystem fascinates me, and I try to use that “system” when building up my paintings. As for inspiration within the art world, I am drawn mostly to the Abstract Expressionists. The freedom and expressiveness and openness in their work is very refreshing.

What is your art background? (education, experience, etc)
I received my BFA from the University of Montana, Missoula in 2000. I started out studying creative writing, fiction, but realized my short stories were mostly describing place, and have very little plot, character and narrative. After 4 years studying writing, I switched to painting.

What is your process for creating your work?
My process is less about outlining a picture and then filling it in, then about building, eliminating, adding, and perfecting layers upon layers of paint. I use the forgiveness of oil paint to paint over and into it until I get the end that I want. There are no “mistakes” in the way I paint, only more layers.

What is the single most important thing you want to communicate with your work?
I hope that people are able to feel something when they look at my work. That they can spend time with it, and feel something from it. I don’t care what they feel. That depends on what they bring to the piece. I just hope they feel something.

What are your career goals?
Right now, I am a full-time painter. I am able to make a decent living at this thing that I love to do most in the world. But beyond that, I would like to grow to be more international, and be able to focus more on larger paintings.

What one object has been the most instrumental in helping you achieve what you have so far?
My live/work studio in downtown Indianapolis (The Wheeler Arts Community) and its fabulous rent. Without this opportunity to live and work cheaply as I first started out, I never could have gotten where I am.

Tell me three random things about you.

  1. I am a healthy eater.
  2. I like to camp.
  3. I am always cold.