Ceramic artist Susan Beere has an interesting direction – wall murals. We spoke with her recently about her career and her portfolio.
How did you get started?
Growing up, making art was all around me. My mother was an accomplished painter, and often would set up her easel in the dining room. We went to museums with her artist friends and discussed the history, techniques and the life of the artists.
In college, my fascination with tile started in an art history class with a discussion of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Covered with bas relief glazed bricks, it gave me the idea of exploring the high relief ceramic medium to create a feeling of environment, a sense of space, or tell a story. The texture and tactile quality of clay suits my artistic vision.
My works have been called “tile paintings.” I gravitate to the tranquil world of animals, birds, flowers and restful places. Early on, I began cutting my tiles free-form, following the lines in the design. From the beginning, I have always worked in brilliant colors and bold, mostly representational designs.
You say that you like to “work large.” How did that evolve for you?
In my late 20’s, I received my first large commission from the owner of an NFL football team who also was an art collector. In the company of Henry Moore and Calder on the lawn, and Modigliani and Degas in the foyer, I created a huge floral mural in the hotel-sized kitchen.
Now some 30 years later, I’ve done dozens of large commissions, mostly murals. I do a lot of smaller works too, but the large expanse of a mural-sized work gives me the freedom to explore ambience, create atmosphere and tell a story.
Over the years, I’ve found that a surprisingly large number of my clients and collectors have been professionals. Many in the legal and medical worlds tell me they find my works calming, joyful and happy – perfect for stressful environments. Patients and practitioners alike easily identify with my work. My murals and smaller pieces grace both their offices and their homes.
Tell us about your new direction in the healthcare market.
Last year an art consultant commissioned three murals for a well known healthcare facility in the Midwest. Designed with colors tailored to what the facility needed, the institutional healthcare market opened up to me. I look forward to expanding in this direction to help bring beauty and calm to a wider audience in public places, such as hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and hotels.
My works have always been joyful and full of bold color and design. I try to create a serene place to let people get lost in something beautiful – even for a few moments. If it lifts their spirit and takes away some worry or apprehension, all the better.