A former lawyer, design blogger and mother of three, Sue De Chiara grew up around artists. “It greatly influenced my love for good design,” she says. Transitioning into a new career, she is now an abstract artist and loves the creative expression. Read more about Sue’s process and her path to painting.
What does art mean to you?
Art means so many different things to me, but above all else it means creative expression—in all of its forms. Whether it’s something you create or something you’re drawn to and love, both are a form of creative expression. Ultimately though, it’s more of a feeling. It’s emotional and not something I can truly put into words.
You have a background in design, you’re a home editor and the décor blogger behind the much-loved IG page @zhush. Can you tell us about your love for design?
I think growing up in a family of artists (my father, uncle, grandmother, cousins…) greatly influenced my love for good design. Being surrounded by artists, I’ve always just taken these things for granted. It’s only somewhat recently, as an adult, that I’ve realized this. Looking back now, I can see how an appreciation for aesthetics began in my formative years.
In addition to wearing those many hats, you are an abstract artist. Can you tell us about your path to painting?
I was always creating art, but the path to my current painting career was not a direct one at all. While I did minor in fine arts in college, I put art on hold for many years afterwards. Law school, a career as a lawyer in NYC, a move to the suburbs, three children…there was always an excuse to put off trying to create. There were brief moments where I’d pick it up again, but it wasn’t until around 2017 when I started to take myself more seriously. I had taken some abstract art classes at the Silvermine Art Center and was so inspired by the entire experience. Surrounding myself in an environment with like-minded artists and a fabulous teacher (Natasha Kaprinskaia) was the push I needed to get painting again. This experience, combined with the confidence I found from blogging about design for a decade, helped me to find my voice and style as an artist.
Was there a particular person or moment that you would attribute your passion to art and design to?
I can’t think of a particular moment in time or one person… Although I’m sure my family, my father and my grandmother especially, were very influential. Especially since there were always art supplies available to me growing up, something I realize now is not the norm. When you’re a child and it’s all you know, it seems familiar and normal.
Can you share with us about any series you are currently working on?
It’s currently still in the “drawing board” state, but I’m loving the idea of using words. Written out in a graphic way on the canvas, as a type of pop art.
What do you hope to reveal for a viewer through your work?
I want the viewer to appreciate the art, but in their own personal way. Since my pieces are abstract, they’re up for interpretation. I always like to hear what people “see” in my work. There’s no one right answer.
What is the most rewarding part of the painting process to you?
I love it when I get to see a piece I created hanging in someone’s home. This never gets old for me. It’s always such a thrill to see a photo of a beautiful interior with my work on the wall.
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