Collection: Sue Graef


1. What do you do when you’re not making art? (Day job etc...).

When I’m not making art I’m trying to show it and sell it. Other than that I like to eat LOL, sleep, watch movies and take long walks in the woods.

2. Why do you make art?

I have a constant drive and urge to create visual images with color. I walk through life looking at things through a window of how I could make a painting with what I see.

3. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the intensity of life and a sense of humor about everyday things.

4. What/who are your influences?

My influences have been other artists, my artist mother and mostly my intention to elicit a reaction from the viewer of pleasant surprise from my use of brilliant color and purposely distorted perspective.

5. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be?

Henri Matisse.

Read our interview with Sue Graef in the AllArtWorks Featured Artist Series here.

Sue Graef artist spotlight

Artist spotlight with Sue Graef

How has your art practice differed from what you originally envisioned when you started?

This question really puzzled me at first. I just drew a complete blank. A big problem started much earlier as an artist. I never envisioned what my art practice would be at all. All I knew is that I wanted to paint and I didn’t want to teach. But I never thought about what I was actually going to do and how I would go about it. So here I am, now 65 years old, after having worked most of my adult life full-time at many things having nothing to do with art and counting the hours until the weekend when I could squeeze in some time to paint. Now I am painting and working to exhibit and sell my work full time and relying heavily on my husband’s income to help pay the bills. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would ever be the situation.

When did you know you were an artist?

I’m looking way back almost 50 years ago to see when I first thought of myself as an artist. It was right about when I was 16 years old. I was carrying a sketchbook around everywhere I went. I was starting to see the world around me as subject matter to paint. Color and composition were more exciting to me than anything else. I was sketching my friends, walking in the woods and stopping to sketch trees. I sat at bus stops and sketched the houses, people and cars I could see. I went to the zoo and sketched animals. I started painting street scenes and cityscapes way back then and was working hard to get into art school.

What do you think the job of an artist is?

My job as an artist is to paint uplifting artwork that people like to look at and smile. It is also my job to share my work as much as possible to reach as many individuals as I can. In general, the job of artists as a group is to bring about an awareness in the public we reach, that art is something that communicates at a more spiritual level. It should be a personal communication from the artist to the viewer expressing his or her view of the world. I feel the message should be on an aesthetic line, attracting the viewer to look and enjoy the image whether it be a colorful painting, sculpture, or a photograph.

What are you most proud of in terms of your art?

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Check out the 4 part interview series with Sue Graef on our Instagram page!