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Susan Washington

Susan Washington

Hometown: New York

Based in: Baltimore MD

Susan Washington is an abstract painter originally from Brooklyn, NY. She comes from a family of painters and though has painted all her life she made her career in the fashion industry in NYC for 20 years before relocating to the Pocono Mountains to become a full-time painter.

She relocated to Baltimore in April of 2021 where she has a large studio on W. Pratt Street. Along with continuing to explore her Subway Sonnet’s body of work Susan opened Nitro Gallery, a brick-and-mortar space with an online presence in a revived warehouse space in Baltimore city.
about the subway sonnets…
I never considered myself a storyteller, until I did.

My paintings are visual narratives of my experiences, of love, of places (existent and non-existent),of emotions and of memories I recall from growing up in New York in the late 70s and 80s.

The surfaces are derived from memories of the rusted subway car, the public telephone booths, rolling steel cages that secure neighborhood stores after closing. The mark-making in these paintings emulates the process by which all these metallic surfaces become the backdrop for the graphic history of the neighborhoods. “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls -(Sounds of Silence, 1964).

In this environment, the sharpie, self-adhesive sticker, pasted hand-bill and aerosol paint can quickly communicate and populate an entire neighborhood overnight promoting local punk rock bands and their gigs, political messaging, self-expression and the advertisement of services from 24-hour plumbers to local sex workers.

My paintings feel as if they have been created by random collaboration in the same way public telephone booths and trains quickly filled up with stickers and graffiti. The surface is archaeological, stratified with graphic artifacts as some, previously placed, are torn away and others overlaid upon existing iconography. The picture plane is scratched and eroded and scrawled upon. Song lyrics and Shakespearean quotes share the same space with philosophy and street slang. There is rough poetry in the un-painterly rhythm and coarseness of this approach.

I have tied together all the imagery and text to imbue each painting with a particular and specific mantra that ranges from “fame” and “success” to “love” and “prosperity”. I pay homage to post-war American art and the neo-expressionists.

Icons from the world’s religions and philosophies, pictures torn from art and fashion magazines and references to lyrics from my favorite bands find their way on my canvas. All paintings are created on canvas using oil paint, spray paint and paper.


4 works for sale

Subway Sonnet #76

Susan Washington, United States of America

Mixed Media

$ 2,600

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Subway Sonnet #81 by Susan Washington

Susan Washington, United States of America

Mixed Media

$ 2,200

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Subway Sonnet #84 by Susan Washington

Susan Washington, United States of America

Painting

$ 2,600

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Subway Sonnet #69 by Susan Washington

Susan Washington, United States of America

Mixed Media

$ 12,000

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Susan Washington In The Studio

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More About Susan Washington

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What inspires you?

The ability to create every day and do what I love to do most inspires me.

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What are 3 words that best describe your work?

Bold, Unique, Powerful

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Who are some artists that have influenced your work?

Joan Mitchell, Basquiat, Cy Twombly, Oscar Murillo

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What is the most important tool when creating your work?

Music is very important in my work.

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What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

"They are not your babies, let them go". A fellow artist told me this at my first exhibition. A lot of artists have difficulty letting works leave the studio. When I create a piece, I feel it's being made for someone, not sure who, but that person is out there.

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Where do you go for inspiration?

I go to the canvas for inspiration

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