In August, I had the pleasure to meet artist Suzanne deVeuve at a farmer's market in Sebastopol, California. Immediately, I was struck by her unique viewpoint and the inspirational quality of her art. Suzanne tackles some deep and complex themes in her work, which made me want to learn more about her creative process and her sources of inspiration. Here is our brief interview:
How would you describe your art? What are some of the recurring themes?
Visionary art is my thing. What makes it visionary is that its influences include dreams, as well as collective and personal mythology. My art features spiritual themes from around the world
How did you get started on this path?
When I was in my early 20’s in art school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, I was reading Memories, Dreams and Reflections by Carl Jung, as well as the diaries of Anais Nin Joseph Campbell’s books on world mythology. These were my big inspiration back then.
Were there specific moments or experiences that pointed you in a specific direction? If so, can you share any of them?
When I met my husband, we traveled to the Southwest and lived in Taos. At one point, we lived in a Navajo hogan. Being pregnant at the time, I was in a very receptive state, which allowed me to absorb the essence and energy of both the land and the indigenous peoples. I originally did a lot of American Indian images. Their clothing and rituals were a great inspiration.
Also I was married at the Hanuman temple in Taos. So Eastern spirituality was also a big influence as my husband had traveled there and shared much of what he had discovered with me. I found some collectors in San Francisco who commissioned several paintings on these themes.
My intentions were and are that these paintings could help integrate the wisdom of the ancient cultures into our high-tech one. This I feel is essential to humanity’s survival.
Can you describe your creative process? What role does intuition play in it?
My creative process is open to whatever comes. I do have dreams that influence what I choose to paint—often to the point of obsession. Thirty years ago I did a painting of the Apache ghost dance and recently I did one inspired by a South American ghost dance. The recent piece was inspired by a dream I had of a serpent lunging at me with an open mouth.
This I later learn was a vision of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec deity that looks like a feathered serpent. Traditionally, this image has appeared to Aztecs during a vision quest that takes place during a solar eclipse, which is when I had the dream. So it’s a wonderful affirmation and realization that the spirit is always interfacing with the material plane.
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