1. Tell us about yourself. What makes you tick?
My name is Susie Ghahremani and I am addicted to mail, paper, stationery, and sending things around the world. Everything I make is probably a hybridization of the love of the written letter, my experience with music, and my reverence for animals. Also: I have a cat and five pet finches.
2. How did you get started as an illustrator?
I went to the Rhode Island School of Design to study illustration, and while in school, played in bands and made merch for those bands. And I’ve always made my own stationery.
3. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
It emerged pretty naturally through the process of working; I didn’t consciously try to find or imitate a style. It hasn’t really changed since I started though it has refined over the past 10 years of freelance life.
It looks a little different when I use different materials. My pen sketches are a little more stippled.
4. Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc?
I’ll create a sketch, then transfer the basic composition of that new sketch to a freehand painted final and layer the details. Everything I make is painted, often with a tiny 10/0 liner brush.
5. How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?
I get off the internet. I read, visit museums, go for a hike, talk with friends, make diagrams, listen to music, look at old photos, and maybe most effectively, pay attention to dreams.
6. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then?
Yes! Everyone does! (If they say they don’t, they’re lying.) During slumps, I feel despair, get antsy, maybe focus on accounting or administrative stuff, and then re-emerge unscathed and motivated to keep working. It always works itself out in time.
7. Best / most fun part of your job:
Getting to draw every day; hearing people say they’ve seen my work in cities I dream of visiting; having such inspiring, supportive and often hilarious clients.
8. Worst / most difficult part of your job:
Having to defend copyright of my artwork and chronic wrist pain.
9. Do you have side projects you work on?
I create and craft a collection of products with my art on them. I’m also in a band – I play synths and sing in it (and play lots of other instruments.) I co-organize a meet up for full time artists here in San Diego. I’m also trying to read 50 books and see 50 movies in 2012 which is more of a challenge than it seems.
10. What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you can share with us?
I have a solo show in Los Angeles at Giant Robot on November 17th.
My first picture book “What Will Hatch?“ written by Jennifer Ward will be out in February, published by Walker Bloomsbury.
I have illustrations in the latest issues of BUST, Isthmus and the Boston Globe; there will be a new journal and notepad set I created published by Chronicle Books in the spring, and I designed a new collection of jewelry with Chocolate and Steel that includes bats.
Also, I’m on the board for ICON8 the Illustration Conference in 2014.
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5 things inspiring you/your work right now:
1. My mom – she puts love and energy into everything she makes & it is contagious.
2. finches – they’re pretty tiny and quiet but they work their way into so much of what I make!
3. a few records I can’t get out of my head. Tilbury “Exorcise”; Jherek Bischoff “Composed”; Wolf Parade “Expo 86”; Tears Run Rings “Distance”; Colleen Green “Cujo”; X “Wild Gift”; The Cleaners From Venus “On Any Normal Monday”
4. wanderlust. My husband and I try to steal a night out of town every month.
5. I twitter a lot (@boygirlparty) and I actually find the twitter community incredibly inspiring. I love seeing snippets of other people’s days in that context.
3 constants in your day:
1. the chirping of finches in the background as i work
2. music all day
3. taking to my sister! she’s my bff, we work together + chit-chat pretty much every day.
Your #1 art tip or words of wisdom:
Art tip: Make a brush or pen grip and save your wrists.
Words of Wisdom: Trust your gut.
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Thank you so very much, Susie!
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