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Interior Designer Harnesses Her Surroundings in Her Art

Sue Paterson

Photos Credit: Sue Paterson

Growing up encompassed by nature and her environment, both inside her family's antique shop and every aspect of New Zealand and Australia’s landscape, Sue Paterson has drawn inspiration from her surroundings that make up the majority of her body of work. From her bold paintings to her unique, functional interior design product collection, Sue Paterson has a clear vision of what she wants to create. Beautiful, meditative, bright pieces. Combining her creative mind with practical skills in interior design, Sue is an up-and-coming name to remember for her seamless blend of perspective and artistry that brings the brilliant hues to the canvas. Sue tells JustLuxe about her inspirations, current projects, and hopes for the future.

Sue Paterson

Your mother and grandmother both had an artistic side. Do you think this influenced your artistic journey?

I believe when I was very young, a toddler, my Grandmother’s ability and creativity definitely fascinated me, and I watched and learned many crafts from her. She used to look after me and would take me hiking in the bush in New Zealand, which is very lush, green, and smells fresh and deliciously earthy. I remember these senses. We would really get up close and she would show me the tiniest mosses and almost microscopic life dwelling within these magical places.

Sue Paterson

Your mother and grandmother both had an artistic side. Do you think this influenced your artistic journey?

I believe when I was very young, a toddler, my Grandmother’s ability and creativity definitely fascinated me, and I watched and learned many crafts from her. She used to look after me and would take me hiking in the bush in New Zealand, which is very lush, green, and smells fresh and deliciously earthy. I remember these senses. We would really get up close and she would show me the tiniest mosses and almost microscopic life dwelling within these magical places. Most of the time, people miss all this, but I was fortunate that she taught me to observe, in a way, I might never have experienced before. So I developed a keen eye for detail, whether we were exploring the bush, mountains or a seaside rockpool, my eyes were opened up to see more. Her adventures she took me on, fueled my imagination even more and I was compelled to express what I was experiencing. Art came naturally.

Sue Paterson

Who were some of your main influences?

Vincent Van Gogh, most definitely. I followed the trial of the places he lived and painted in France. His use of colors, unusually vibrant shades, his painting style, line work and imagery is most inspiring for me. Also Monet, with his layering technique and use of color as light. Paul Gauguin and Kandinsky too. Many of my influences are the Impressionist masters of the 19th century. 

Sue Paterson

How would you define your style? 

I think that is a difficult question. I can tell you how people describe my style, which I would have to agree with and I’m fascinated by. Surrealistic Impressionism, which seems to fit, if that makes sense. Even slightly naive or fantastical...with hints of a European folk art element, come to my mind as well.

Sue Paterson

You also have a career in design.  How did that come about?

I have a degree in Interior Design. It was a practical career choice at that time, and a good excuse to escape the cold small town in New Zealand where I grew up. My mother was always very interested in design and had a love and passion for antiques and antique furniture, so I was surrounded by beautiful objects of art, which she collected and loved to decorate our home with, so I was influenced by her sense of style. 

Sue Paterson

Tell me a bit about the SP Collections.

SP Collections were born from my “Wild Natives” painting which inspired my first collection of bespoke, limited edition, furniture and decor, with the artwork made into fabric. The fabric is used in combination with functional objects of art, which are designed or hand selected by me and made in Australia by very talented crafts people. The SP Collection will be like a fashion collection– designed for that season only and not repeated year after year, so it is a limited, exclusive range.

I’m still finalizing my lamp stand prototype for this collection, but otherwise it’s available for purchase on orders. I wanted to make art accessible and functional, not just a painting to hang on a wall, but art piece that pops in a room and enjoyable to use. I’m already working on next year's collection, which will be called 'Orientique', and I guess you can imagine the essence of that story.

Sue Paterson

Where can people see your work?  

I’m in the US right now and just had an exhibition of my paintings “Bursting into life” at the iconic Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. Currently I’m in negotiations with several galleries for representation. You can find me and make any purchases or inquiries at my website: www.suepaterson.com

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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